Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary. It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way. A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding. A way that helps me create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday. If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.
We have a portable dishwasher. The kind you wheel over to the sink and hook up to the faucet. It reminds me of the one my grandmother had when I was girl. I used to watch her in the sliver of light that poured into my room between the wall and the door that never shut properly. Rolling the ancient heavy machine over to the sink. Running the water until it was hot. After she left the kitchen to watch Wheel of Fortune, I’d fall asleep to the rhythmic white noise of the turning jets.
We’ve only had our dishwasher for about a year, but as you might imagine, I forgot what life was like without it fairly quickly. So when the plug began smelling distinctly of burning plastic mid-cycle on Saturday, I panicked. I suddenly remembered that I used to spent an hour at the sink after the kids were in bed, washing away the last artifacts of our family meals. These days, I look back upon the day while my hands are at the sewing machine or steadily clicking a pair of needles together. After a few deep breaths and a reminder to myself that we were quite capable of surviving a few days without a dishwasher, gratitude overcame panic.
Day after day, sometimes even twice, we load this machine, run it, empty it. In between we walk away and get covered in mud up to our knees, pick flowers for the nature table, climb into the tree house, fight over this and make up over that. Those moments of life we would not have without technology.
Sometimes I think taking things for granted is an act of self preservation. If we were conscious and grateful for everything, every moment of every day, we’d be exhausted. So the brain forgets what need not be attended to. That is, until, practical life offers us a little reminder of the forgotten things. And it never stops at the dishwasher. For a moment, all of it rushes back into consciousness. There used to be a patch of dirt where the spring bulbs are turning the earth yellow and purple. After several eggless months, I collected 10 today, 100 ft from neighbors who have embraced a suburban rooster. Two and a half years ago we paid a dollar for our 1983 Volvo, and it’s still getting us where we need to go. Grandma and Grandpa live 14 blocks away. It’s a 20 minute drive to Nana’s house. And, someone, somewhere, invented Skype so that the kids can take Grampy on a tour of their projects once a week. If I endeavored to count the number of people who have taken an active role in loving our children, I’d need all of the hands in our family.
We replaced the plug today, ran the water until it was hot, started the first of many catch up cycles, and stopped thinking about the dishwasher. I hope we won’t have to think about it again for a while. Instead I’m going out to cut daffodils for the nature table, and be grateful for the return of spring.