Learning to do dishes again

I’m learning how to do dishes again. It’s not like I had forgotten, because I don’t think any mom could actually forget how to do dishes, although I’ll bet a bunch of us wish we could forget. It’s more like having forgotten the routine of doing dishes. I haven’t had to do dishes on a regular basis for, oh, say, about 12 or 13 years. All these years the kids have been doing them, taking turns each night. I would either be taking care of the baby or perhaps doing some other chore; the dishes were always up to the kids.

Well now we are down to one last Mohican left at home and it’s just not fair to expect him to do the dishes every night. Additionally at the age of 13 it’s time for him to spend more time outside or around the house with Dad doing all that rough-tough cool guy stuff that young men should be learning how to do. So, I’ve taken up the dish washing batton.

I’m finding that I actually enjoy it. In a symbolic way it’s like washing away all the day’s worries and cares with a sponge. There is something so satisfactory about wiping the spaghetti sauce off a plate or scrubbing the daylights out of a cookie sheet. It’s gratifying to see the pile of dirty dishes dwindle and the dish rack fill with sparkling clean ones. It gives me a sense of accomplishment even on days when I haven’t been able to work through even a few of the items on my to-do list. It gives me a sense of order even when I’m surrounded by chaos. And there’s nothing like stepping back and taking a look at a job well done.

Most days, I get so into it that I don’t stop at just washing dishes. I find myself moving through the kitchen cleaning the stove, wiping out the microwave, washing the floor and shining up the cabinets. I have to admit this is getting kind of addictive. Mark keeps telling me, “Marge, go do something else and let John do that.” But I really don’t want him to. so I make up some lame excuse about why it’s better that he goes off and does something else.

I think what I like most about doing dishes is that it reminds me of the good old days, like when the kids were little and I would be washing dishes while they were playing on the carpet or chasing their toys around. The problem is, there are no little kids anymore. My “little kids” are all grown up now and the house seems way too quiet and far too empty. Now when I do dishes, I spend the time reminiscing about days gone by, laughing at old jokes, awing at the cute antics of days gone by, and remembering the smell and feel of a pudgy, warm, kiddo snuggled into my lap.

I also think about what it’s going to be like when it really is just Mark and I all alone in the house. I wonder what our children’s vocations will be, who the might marry, and where they might live. I ruminate about what we might be like as an elderly couple – will we have any interesting hobbies? Will we live in a different house then? What will it be like growing old together? I realize that our lives will be very different in the future; different from what it was 12 years ago and different from what it is now. Whatever it will be, it will be great because it will be God’s will for us – just as is the past and the present.

Yuppers. I’m learning to do dishes again, but in a new way.

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