In the Boys’ Bathroom: Slice of Life 4/31 #sol17

slice of life

He leaves the game with his hands cupped over his nose.

“Are you going, or should I?” my husband asks.

“I’ll go,” I say.

By the time I follow my son into the boys’ bathroom, blood is everywhere. Spattered on the floor and sink like an abstract painting. Running down his hands and arms. It’s in his teeth, under his nails. He’s got two thin paper towels pressed to his nose, and they’re soaked.

But he can’t think about that because his mom just walked into the boys’ bathroom.

“Mom!” he hisses. “This is the boys’ bathroom! There are urinals!”

As if a urinal would stop me.

“Let’s change those out,” I say.

The paper towels are so stiff, I feel like I’m handing him copy paper to stop his nose bleed. I switch out the towels twice, three times, four. The blood soaks through in seconds. So much blood. While he bends over the bloody sink and presses paper towels to his nose, I try to contain the spread of red. It’s all over his uniform, but by some miracle of cheap fabric, it wipes right off.

Two little boys open the bathroom door and step in, then quickly step out. The door closes.

“Mom!” he hisses. “You’re scaring little kids!”

The door opens again and the older of the two boys peeks inside.

“It’s okay,” I reassure him. “Just a mom here. Momming.”

“Come on in, buddy,” my son says. He glares at me in the mirror, but I pretend not to see.

The two boys step inside and sequester themselves in the one stall with a door.

An elderly man opens the door, then quickly closes it. In a moment, the door opens again and he steps tentatively inside.

“I didn’t know if I was in the right place,” he says.

“Oh yes,” I say. “We’ve got a nosebleed. I’m just momming here.”

“Oh my god,” my son moans.

The elderly man waits for the two boys to leave the stall. They run out of the bathroom without washing their hands.

A teenager comes inside and doesn’t even blink to see me standing there wiping blood off the floor. He walks right over to the urinal behind me and unzips his pants. I want to catch my son’s eye and share a giggle, but I know it will have to wait until later.

“This is so inappropriate,” my son mutters under his breath.

“He doesn’t seem to care,” I point out.

The teenager doesn’t wash his hands either.







35 responses to “In the Boys’ Bathroom: Slice of Life 4/31 #sol17”

  1. Anna Helsby Furniss Avatar
    Anna Helsby Furniss

    I loved this! Having a good chuckle to myself. I guess it’s a mom’s job to embarrass her son, just as it’s a dad’s job to embarrass his daughter (my lot in life). I am definitely going to adopt the term “momming”. What a wonderfully captured moment!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      To mom is definitely a verb in my house. I consider what I do extreme momming, and I’m pretty sure my son would agree! Nosebleeds in the boys bathroom are pretty mild for us!

  2. maryannreillyMary Avatar

    The awesome power of mom. Loved this. Your writing is so spot on. The details are specific enough and in your son’s comments I can imagine my own son speaking.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was so worried I wouldn’t find a slice today, and then this happened! I probably should have taken more credit for getting the blood out of that white uniform!

  3. Shari Daniels Avatar

    Well, if that isn’t a SLICE! I’m imagining that entire story happening within the timespan of about 10 minutes and you captured every detail. I could feel your son’s horror at you being in there with him (and I laughed) because that’s what moms do. We roll up our sleeves and we get to work. You did a great job momming here and an even better job of recording the memory. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think the whole story took less than 3 minutes, and the writing of it was very fast too, which is unusual for me. I sat and wrote it during halftime of a basketball game! I was wandering around between games, complaining to my husband about how I couldn’t find a slice no matter how hard I tried. And then I thought, Fool! Write the nose bleed!

  4. kathyschuitema Avatar

    What a great telling of this story! I felt the emotions come through in every part of your slice.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you! I think my son had just one feeling: extreme mortification!

  5. Colin Davitt Avatar
    Colin Davitt

    This was an amazing piece of writing. I can my family experiencing the exact same thing. Love the part about the teenager, I’m pretty sure mine would be totally unaware that anyone else was in the bathroom.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That teenager cracked me up! On the drive home from the game, my son was finally ready to laugh about it too.

  6. Amanda Regan Avatar
    Amanda Regan

    This story is so well written! I am in total awe of you not only for braving a public boys’ restroom (I sometimes don’t want to go into my own boys’ bathroom at home) but for dealing so calmly with all the blood. Definitely an example of excellent momming!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have to say, that was a surprisingly clean bathroom. Isn’t it funny how extreme momming helps you develop the stomach for things that used to make you swoon, like blood?

  7. pugluv50 Avatar

    Very funny. I remember those days. Cherish them.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I try to remember to cherish all of these moments. Glad to have the Slice Challenge to encourage me to capture some of them.

  8. krissybertrand Avatar

    Love the beginning! As a fellow boy mom, I can totally relate!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, definitely not the first time we’ve been in the boys bathroom together with some crisis or other–and surely won’t be the last!

  9. lindabaie Avatar

    Moms will continue on no matter what, Elisabeth. Very funny & I’m glad you went to help. I guess you’ll be talking about this for a while with your son.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, he wanted to discuss all the shades of his embarrassment on the way home!

  10. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Now THAT is a moment! This sounds to me like scientific proof that you can NOT die of embarrassment!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I wish I’d thought to say this to my son: “You are now scientific proof that you can’t die of embarrassment! Go you!”

  11. djvichos Avatar

    I love the line “as if a urinal would stop me” and your responses to your son and the visitors about your need to be there in the boys’ bathroom. The setting is truly memorable! And, I enjoyed this unique visit to the boys’ bathroom.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      By now my son ought to know better: I have no shame when it comes to extreme momming! I did enjoy the steady stream of visitors and their reactions.

  12. Mindi Rench Avatar

    Ok. That made me laugh out loud. The things we do as moms!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Absolutely! A trip to the boys bathroom is nothing!

  13. carriegelson Avatar

    Okay. Things I am wondering now – was it your presence or do these guys ever wash their hands? Love all of this. Momming. Your son’s irritation – “so inappropriate” All of it.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      You have a good point! There were 4 sinks, but perhaps the bloody one was just really REALLY off-putting! I seriously wanted to tell the little boys and the teen to wash their hands, but I decided extreme momming should extend to only my own child in this circumstance.

  14. carwilc Avatar

    This is hilarious! Can so identify! Well done! And I love the commentary on hand washing, in the middle of all that blood and embarrassment!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The hand washing business was so much grosser than all the blood!!

  15. midwesternheartindixie Avatar

    Holy moly! First, great voice! Second, gross (blood and not washing hands). Favorite slice of the day!!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Oh wow, thank you! What a compliment! I found the hand washing business SUPER gross! But then I wash my hands about 10K times a day.

  16. Juliana Ellington Avatar

    Since you can write about urinals without turning a hair, I am going to write ‘LMAO’ and feel totally appropriate!!! Great writing, great story!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Well, you know, there they were! At least it was a clean bathroom!

  17. Akilah Avatar

    “There are urinals!” 😂

    I loved this. Too bad about the epic nosebleed and that other kid not washing his hands.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was trying hard not to be embarrassing, but there’s not much you can do in the face of urinals!

  18. maestradl Avatar

    wow, that is a great story. I could feel his young ego wilting with embarrassment and your calm and loving determination to get that nosebleed cleaned up!

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