There I was washing my boy’s hair in the tub, doing what I do during every bath time, absolutely no different from any other night. Except this time I got soap in his eyes. The water fell down his head and instead of gasping excitedly while signing “more!” he looked at me and let out a big wail then began to rub his eyes, only making it worse. I knew I had entered a realm of motherhood every mom must go through at some point: the terrible soap-in-the-eyes-bathtub-meltdown.

“It’s okay, bubba. It’ll be alright. Let me wipe your eyes,” I pleaded, knowing good and well that soap burns like crap and rubbing your eyes only makes it worse. I know that pain because once upon a time I was a kid getting my hair washed and having soap practically poured into my eyeballs by an adult assuring me “It would be alright.”

That’s when it happened.

I remembered a time, long ago, when I was enjoying a bath during a sleepover at my great grandmother’s house and she decided it was time to interrupt my playtime to wash my hair. The awful feeling of shampoo in my eyes was forever engrained in my mind as she rinsed out the shampoo telling me to hold still and to not rub my eyes. After that moment I was pretty much deathly afraid to use Pantene Pro-V shampoo because of the fear of burning my eyeballs out (nothing against you, Pantene, I’ve forgiven you now that I know better).

But it wasn’t the painful eyeball burning memory that hit me, although I did feel bad for my little guy in his moment of weakness. It was the thought of my sweet great granny being able to bend over and help little 5-year-old me in the bath. Fast forward to now and you’ll see her walking through that same house with her walker and bragging about how she’s able to make it from one room to the other with ease today. That’s on a good day. No way she’s washing any more babies’ hair in her bathtub.

Instant heartbreak.

Why do little, every day moments decide to turn into tear jerkers?!

That night there was a toddler in the bathtub crying momentarily over soap in his eyes and a momma realizing that life has a sometimes mean way of reminding you that while you’re getting older, the people you love are getting older as well.

So I made it all better by getting out some squirty bath toys, since those are hilarious to my kid right now, and made a mental note to call my Grano the next day. In hindsight I think I teared up more than he did over the whole fiasco. But that’s okay because the next day my sweet granny got to hear my boy, her precious GREAT-GREAT grandson, say “I love you” in his squeaky toddler voice all because we all got soap in our eyes.

I must say, I’m beyond blessed to have grown up with so many grandparents. I had my parents’ parents around often but I also had two great grandmothers just as involved in my life. One of my great grandmothers passed away around the time I found out I was pregnant and I often think how special he would have been to her. The other great grandmother is just a phone call away and I am B L E S S E D to be able to call her whenever I want or drive a few hours to visit.

If you have grandparents, great grandparents, or an elderly neighbor in your life, give them a call. Or better yet, show up with a hug. They’ll treasure those calls and hugs more than you can imagine.

Emily Chafin

Emily Chafin is a Kentucky girl, born and raised, living in central Kentucky with her husband, Robert. Together they are working their way through this thing called "parenthood" with their always-smiling toddler son. Emily used to be a teacher but when her family started to grow, she stepped out of that realm to focus on being a new mom and was blessed to have a husband who encouraged her to do so. While her family of three might not always be a family of three, she's enjoying the blissful trio they are right now.