I spend a lot of time here, at the kitchen sink.
When hubby and I were looking for a house, one of the things we decided we didn’t need was a dishwasher.
There are days I regret that decision.
Days when I just want the pile of dishes that snake across the counter to magically clean themselves so I can move on to “Real Life.”
In the same way that when I was 6 I wanted to be 10, and when I was 10 I wanted to be 16, and when I was in university I just wanted to be working.
We push past where we are now, and start to resent the simple everyday moments, hoping to spend more time on the Real Things of life, whatever those things may be.
But I am discovering that perhaps, Real Life happens during those everyday, seemingly tedious activities, like doing the dishes.
Standing at the kitchen sink I am reminded of many hours spent in a similar fashion with those that I love.
My grandfather was the dish washer in my grandparent’s household and when I would visit and we would do dishes together, he would sing to me. In the silly way that life works it is one of the few times I would hear him lift his voice and sing as I would be serenaded with renditions of “A Bicycle Built for Two” and “Jeepers Creepers.” It is a side of my grandfather I may not have seen without meeting at the kitchen sink. Sometimes when I am doing dishes it is almost like having him back again as I see him in my minds eye dancing and singing and scrubbing at the same time.
Sometimes, at my own house, when the whole family was gathered together, I would be given the night off from dish duty if I would sit at the piano and “play us a tune.” On those days my memories were of music and the sound of many voices and laughter wafting down the hallway from the kitchen, and, especially at Christmas time, singing voices of all kinds lifted in cheerful song.
When I moved far from home, dish time became phone chat time, and although my grandmother left this earth over a year ago, there is hardly a time that I pick up washcloth and soap that I don’t long to pick up the phone and hear her voice once again. Sometimes I can still hear her in my head, chatting about the ladies at quilting, the goings-on at her church, and the amazing meals she had the joy of partaking in (my grandmother always did like to talk about food!)
And dish time is still a time to chat with my mother. Often she is doing dishes too as we talk, and we are connected by that daily task of soaping and scrubbing, drying and putting away. The clink of the dishes, the splashing of the water, the closing of a cupboard door are the background music to our weekly conversations.
And dish time in my house is also alone time. A time to pray. To reflect. To think. To ponder. To sing. To be quiet. To enjoy good music. To talk. To learn. To laugh. And even…. To cry. To be angry. To let frustrations out. To calm down. To get worked up.
This daily task is a part of the rhythm of my life. It is the connecting tissue of some of my fondest memories.
Who knew there could be so much power in a sink full of dirty dishes?
I’m not saying I rejoice when it is time to do the dishes. But I have a better appreciation for how Real Life happens in the small, everyday, moments, and I stop wishing the time away, and start accepting it as part of a full and beautiful life.
What about you? Do you find ways to savour the everyday moments of life?