Slish, slosh. Slish, slosh.
The dish water splashes back and forth in the sink as I hurriedly place dirty bowls and plates and silverware in the dishwasher. After a few days of ignoring the growing pile, it was the strange stench that finally convinced me to do them.
Dear God. How long has this been in here!? I say to myself as I open a sippy cup to find spoiled milk. Ahhh, yes. This must be the source.
Life is so busy. I’m here, I’m there. I’m three places at once and although I hate to do the dishes as it is, quite possibly, my most unfavorite chore of them all, I stand there completely still for a moment.
The window is cracked open for the first time in who knows how long. The green curtain blows in the warmth. Could it be – spring is finally asking me to dance after a rough winter?
I am aching, for what I’m not exactly sure, and the sun is begging me to come outside. But the baby will wake soon and the boys’ quiet time will turn into yells of “Mooooom, is quiet time over yet?”
I want to scream, “Not yet!” but I usually give in because despite how much I need thirty minutes to myself, the calm between the storm, I always miss them when they’re not around.
I miss their noise, their excitement at everything around them. I am in awe of their happiness. And I wonder – was I ever that happy as a child? I think I was but I can’t remember anymore. It’s not clear – kinda like how my hands look under the dirty dish water.
Hurry, HURRY – I interrupt myself. Just get it done and then you can have a few minutes to sit by yourself.
I finally spot the bottom of the sink and breathe relief because I know I’m almost to the finish line of at least one thing on my to-do list. I’m closer to that first sip of afternoon coffee, a treat I sometimes allow myself even though I know there’ll be hell to pay when it’s time to fall asleep.
My husband will fall asleep within ten seconds of his head hitting the pillow. But I will lay there, definitely not sleeping, listening all around me. The pops and cracks of our house settling down for the night. Oh, if these walls could talk – they would probably tell us all to be quiet.
I press the start button on the dishwasher and hear it begin to hummmm. I flip the switch to the garbage disposal and immediately realize there is something caught down there making it grind, grind, grind to a halt. Grrrr, I hate reaching my hand down in there. No telling what it is this time. One time it was what looked like a month-old piece of broccoli.
I put my hand down in and feel something smooth and hard. I pull out a tiny baby spoon.
I’ll sure be glad when we’re finally done with these things. Always getting caught in . . .
But I stop myself mid-thought. Because I realize when we’re finally done with them, it means we’re really done.
My husband had a vasectomy in December. Truthfully, I haven’t even been that emotional about it. I know I’m done having babies. I know this is our complete family. There are no missing pieces. I’m at peace with our decision to be done with the baby-making phase. I’m so ready to enjoy the here and now and anticipate what comes next.
But on this day, as the wind continues to dance with the curtain and my 14-month-old naps upstairs, the weight of time and memories hits me hard. Like the hot water hits the dishes ridding them of all the leftover food.
I open the drawer and toss the little spoon into the pile with the rest of them. I stand there, staring at them, all the colorful baby spoons.
I can’t get over it – how fast it all goes. I can’t comprehend that a year ago I was holding a newborn and today she’s miss independent, exploring this big world one milestone at a time.
In a few years the little spoons will all be gone. No miniature silverware to curse while I’m doing the dishes. One by one, everything little will be replaced with something bigger. Something for growing hands. It’s strange how you can feel so sad and so grateful all at the same time.
Tears fall fast as I wipe splattered water off the counters.
“Mooooom, is quiet time over yet?” my oldest yells.
“Yes,” I call back rubbing my eyes dry.
And I close the drawer and head upstairs.