Over time as I have lived in different apartments with Glen, Guapo, and Pippi we have made a conscious effort to ensure we felt at home in any space we were in. Even if as renters it would not be ours forever. Our home is filled with many things we have collected over the years and everything has a story of how we ended up with it, where it came from, or what time in our history it reminds us of. In addition to that, I have also developed this weird interesting habit of naming things in my home that I feel a deep connection with so they can serve a bigger purpose in my life. I made one such connection one Sunday afternoon back in December of 2017 when I encountered this soap dispenser at a Marshalls as we were doing our holiday shopping:
I found this owl in the clearance section, my favorite place to shop for treasures. It was marked for a couple of dollars and I was immediately smitten with it. I excitedly showed it to Glen who didn’t get what I liked about it. My case for purchasing it was simple: it was cute and on clearance! Then we got to the register and my bubble was burst. It turns out that someone put a red clearance price tag OVER the actual price of the owl which was more than just a couple of bucks. I stood there frozen unsure of what to do. Ultimately, my connection to this random owl was deeper than just the cheap cuteness of it. I bought it, brought it home, and used it as the inspiration to redecorate my entire bathroom. Something about this little guy reminded me of the owl from the Tootsie Pop commercials. Where there is this little boy seeking counsel and wisdom from Mr. Owl for a simple yet deep question about life and lollipops. Mr. Owl answers it by taking a bite of the damn pop. There. Problem solved. Question answered.
Mr. Owl’s magical combination of wit, wisdom, and playful mischief always makes me think of my dad. He has that same sense of humor and approach to answering life’s big questions as Mr. Owl. My dad always said he inherited his wisdom, humor, and work ethic from his dad, Aurelio. With all of that inspiration swimming in my mind, I decided to name my little owl shaped soap dispenser, Owlrelio (in honor of my dad and grandfather). Owlrelio lives in my bathroom and he is my Director of Mindful Grooming. He is a reminder of my father and grandfather. Two of the most hilarious, wise, and hard working men I have ever known.
I have many memories of watching my dad, mi Apa, groom and get ready in our bathroom as a child. Every time we would get ready to go to church or a family outing, it was quite the production. My mom, mi Ama, always commented on how long my dad would take to get ready. She would complain that he took forever in the bathroom. “Banos de Maria Felix” (Maria Felix baths) is what she called my dad’s grooming ritual. Maria Felix was a famous actress from the golden age of Mexican cinema. Onscreen she was iconic, beautiful, and glamorous. Offscreen she was all of that as well as sassy, strong, and very poised.
Once I knew who Maria Felix was I laughed at my mom for comparing my dad, a carpenter, to a movie starlet. But energetically, there was something about the way my dad got himself ready that made me realize there was some truth to mi Ama’s comparison. Mi Apa was the hardest working man in the show business that was my childhood. He is where my siblings and I all get our work ethic from. Like his father, he was a carpenter, a master craftsman, resourceful, innovative, and creative. He is someone who could build and fix anything. He was the sole provider for our household. He worked long hours every day at a full-time job, after work, and on the weekends. All to ensure we had everything we needed.
The bathroom was his ONLY moment to think about himself. In our home filled with chaos, this place was his carpenter’s spa. A sanctuary for his rough hands and aching arms. His time to hype himself up before he had to go out into the world to sweat and get dirty so his family could eat. In every other space, he was always head down, quick, alert, ready to work, already fixing something, or doing something for someone else. Always walking or looking to be of use or service. Never still. But in our bathroom, his bathroom, his movements stretched. Almost as if he was making the most of every second. I remember watching him rubbing his hands together slowly, putting on his brillantina tenderly. He sure the did move with the grace and focus of a glamorous movie starlet. It’s the only way you can move when you’re building doors, windows, and a dream of a better life for your family. For those 60 minutes, he was the star of his own one-man show. He was the embodiment of self-care and restoration after a hard days work.
I aspire to have his wit, wisdom, and sense of humor in my daily life. More importantly, I aspire to have his self-care work ethic in my bathroom every day. That is what Owlrelio, my little owl shaped soap dispenser, is there to remind me of. If that means my showers have to take longer. So what? Like my dad, I am doing more than just showering in my bathroom every day. I’m getting ready to conquer my day while simultaneously trying to embody the wisdom of my father. I am honoring the legacy of my grandfather while trying to comb my hair. I am getting ready for the grind of providing for my family in order to run my lap in the relay race of my ancestors’ dreams. All of that deep work needs to be condensed into 30 minutes? 60 minutes tops?!?!?! That is not easy. Owlrelio is there to serve as a visual reminder that my showers will be deep, they will be mindful, they will be epic, and like mi Apa and María Félix… they will be back-breakingly FABULOUS.
What will you do to make your next shower or self-care routine fabulous? Who will inspire it? Send me a note I’d love to know. Thanks for reading!