Friday, September 17, 2010

Washing Dishes Together - By Hand

Anyone remember the days when we washed all the dishes by hand every single day? You know, before dishwashers were popular or even invented?

{Photo Credit: EraPhernalia Vintage}

You might think I'm crazy, but it wouldn't be such a bad thing if a movement to ditch the dishwasher sprang up in homes across the country. Yes, there a lot of other things you could be doing in the time that it takes to wash them by hand, but would it accomplish as much?

For example... 

Would it cause two siblings to have to learn to work together to get a job done?

How about a game of "pop the towel" with a brother? (ouch! I'd skip that one!)

Any chance it would develop a sense of joy in an 8 year old (standing on a chair, of course) for a job well done?

Just wondering, but would it allow sisters to work together, side by side, at the end of the day where they would learn to share their secret thoughts with one other?

And would the memories of home and family be engraved as deeply on the mind and heart?

{Photo Credit: EraPhernalia Vintage}

Forgive me for being so nostalgic, but I just spent the evening last night doing the dishes, by hand, with my 12 year old chattering non-stop about stories she had been listening to, books she was reading, and some of her deepest feelings. All while I washed and she dried. Before it was over, she had us both in tears because of one of her stories! I know she didn't realize the joy in my soul for another little peak into the window of her heart. Would another activity have opened up such an opportunity? Some perhaps, but not many.   

As we were finishing up and things were winding down, it caused me to reflect back on a scene at my grandmother's where I often helped with the dishes. Her little cottage kitchen was so small, you had to do them just to have any counter space! The window above the sink would often be open and a train would whistle in the distance or the crickets in the yard could be heard singing their night song. As I dried, her large white cotton dish towels always felt so good when they were wet. Especially on hot nights!

Somehow this ritual made me feel knitted together with my family. Like I was a part of something bigger than just ME. I know I didn't understand how significant these little things were at the time, but I'm so glad today that I was blessed to have them. And it's important that we provide these kinds of quiet experiences for our own children, whether they desire them at the time or not. In time, they'll long for such moments!

So, I guess it really isn't about washing dishes, but rather spending time as members of a family doing the mundane chores of life, whatever they may be, in order to have time to connect... one soul to another. 

Washing dishes by hand will always hold a special place in my heart!


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