Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Friend the Sink

*warning! this got wordy*

I spend a good amount of time each day washing dishes. I don't have a dishwasher so every thing gets washed by hand. Usually it's my hands in that hot, almost scalding water. Back in the day when we lived in an apartment in the city (yeah, that does sound weird) I had a dishwasher. I couldn't stand the thought of icky food stuff on my hands so I bought a dish wand to keep my hands as far away from the grossness on the dishes. I really hated washing dishes and Beard-O would often do it for me.

Then we moved to a rent house and during the move I lost my dish wand. I still had a dishwasher though. But now I was a stay at home mama; I had a six month old baby boy. I learned to deal with all sorts of gross stuff. Getting peed on, pooped on and spit up on (all in a five minute time frame!) I could deal with. Food stuck on dishes... still gross. I started getting over it. That kitchen sink faced a wall. No window for me to look out of. Just me, a sink of dishes and a wall to stare at. That's when I started thinking. I would plan our menus, write grocery lists, debate with myself, think about our baby, think about our marriage, think about our budget. My sink was a place where I would convince myself everything was going to be okay. Sometimes things were far from okay, sometimes they were wonderful.

Then we bought a house. There was no dishwasher. Not even a place to put one. But my sink had a window above it. I started enjoying washing dishes. Still very much a chore but I could see past that now. We brought our second baby, a boy (surprise!) home to that house. I had babies cling to my legs while I washed dishes. Lay across my feet and wait for me to pick them up. I laughed at my husbands jokes, kissed him hello, cried in his arms at that sink. I gave myself pep talks. I let myself hold onto a lot of anger at that sink. And then we moved. Again.

The sink in the kitchen in the yellow house where we lived for a month is probably my favorite. A tiny kitchen. A tiny sink that was nearly impossible to wash a pot in. Where I stood pregnant with my third baby with two little boys running past me. No window. But I didn't seem to need it there. I washed dishes while turning ever so slightly to watch the TV that picked up three channels. I picked up those boys and washed their hands and faces while they wiggled and squirmed trying to get away. I drowned my doubts and anxiety in that sink and let them flow down the drain. And then we moved to this house.

My current sink is where most of my self therapy is held. I have more dishes to wash and another window to look out of. I had a daughter that knew if I walked to the sink I wouldn't pick her up right away. She screamed at me and put herself between me and the dishes. I've broken glasses in that sink. Had plates break in two. Pulled back in pain from the scorching water. Thought about how different my life has become, about how different I have become. I've cried standing at this sink too. I've laughed a lot and told some pretty good jokes from my place at the sink. I've lost my temper, I've forgotten about things cooking, I've lingered too long. All at my kitchen sink. I often think about what I should write on this blog while I'm washing dishes. Usually it's some reflection about how I'm rushing through the day and I need to just. slow. down. I need to put down the bowl and go read a book to my kids. I never write about those things though.

I'm a bit afraid to share my struggles and anxieties on this blog. I know there are so many other people with bigger problems than I have. But these problems are mine and they are important to me. I share them with my sink. Because my sink doesn't reject me. It doesn't ridicule me or tell me it doesn't care. I spend a lot of time talking to God at my sink. And when I'm done with all the dishes I dry my hands and whatever I was dealing with, whatever was frustrating me doesn't seem so bad. I feel capable, like I can handle whatever gets thrown my way. That I am a good Mama that disciplines her children because she loves them. That I'm a good wife. That maybe, just maybe, I'm doing alright.

p.s. thanks for the encouragement y'all gave for me to write about something besides how hot it is and how much laundry I have to do.

p.p.s I realize after writing this that it might sound somewhat depressing or that I'm always upset when I wash dishes. Actually, I'm usually in a pretty good mood and have been caught many times singing off key and dancing while I'm splashing some bubbles. Just sayin' 


  1. this is great. I really enjoyed reading...and it weirdly made me want to sit (stand) and do dishes.

    you are a miracle worker.

  2. @Grace: Too sweet!
    @CLB: Yea! Your first comment!! Thanks for reading!

  3. This was a really awesome! I loathe me some dishes... and cleaning in general... you almost made me regret gutting out a cabinet and installing a dishwasher... at the very least... you made me want to do my dishes tonight and appreciate that I have dishes to wash and a sink to wash them in. Thanks for sharing. loved.

  4. Fabulous post, JD. I didn't know what to expect coming into this. Love it!

  5. How beautiful. And I didn't think it sounded depressing at sounds real. And you did say you told some good jokes at your sink!

  6. Love. All sinks should have windows. My current one does not, but it looks over at the family room so I am a part of all that is going on while I wash, and that is also good.

  7. What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into your life!