So at some point Pinterest figured out that I’m interested in writing. (It’s very intuitive, this Pinterest.) Consequently, periodically I see writing motivational quotes, such as:
A crappy first draft is worth more than a non-existing one.
If you want to be a writer, write. Write, write, and write… – Anne Rice
Don’t get it right, get it written. – Ally Carter
Write a page a day, only 300 words, and in a year you have written a novel. – Stephen King
A professional writer is an amateur that didn’t quit. – Richard Bach
There is even some occasional support from some of my favorite fictional people:
So, needless to say, Pinterest is..encouraging…me to follow my dreams, albeit in a forceful and sort of creepy way.
And yet, I still tend to neglect the blog. Although my favorite kind of blog to read is personal narrative blogs like BigMama, who take daily life and make it entertaining, I guess I have a hard time believing I can make my own daily life entertaining. Between the excuses and the failure to work writing into my routine, my unexercised writing muscle is shaky when I do try to use it. If you don’t know what I mean by a “shaky” muscle, clearly you have never seen me try to do a push-up.
All that being said, I really would like to do more on the blog, even if it ends up being something that people don’t really care to read. Don’t mind me, just workin’ my muscle. But don’t worry, if it is any comfort, my normal exercise is pretty sporadic, so I would expect that of my writing exercise, as well.
I guess I felt like I needed to explain myself a little bit before I launched into a post about my dishwasher.
So, you may or may not remember (I’m going to go with may not) that I had a vendetta against using a dishwasher. Well, vendetta is a strong word, but the fact is that in the almost eleven years of marriage prior to moving into this house, I had never used a dish washer, even though I had had one available to me for about nine and a half years. Our very first apartment did not have a dishwasher, and I grew accustomed to washing dishes by hand. I insisted in subsequent apartments and houses that had a dishwasher that it was a waste of electricity and water and it was really just as fast to wash my dishes by hand. Especially since the demographic of our house required me to use a number of sippy cups and plastic plates and the like that had to be hand-washed, anyway.
Well, apparently if you do not use something you lose it, and we may or may not have had a problem in the past with a dishwasher not working because it had sat for several years in our jurisdiction without use. So when we moved into this house, Josh laid down the law and declared that, “We are USING this dishwasher.”
I have to say that in the six-ish months that we have lived here, I have totally fallen for the dishwasher. My favorite part? It washes our cheese grater! We grate a lot of cheese, and I hate washing the cheese grater since it tears up the sponge and I tend to nick my fingers on it. Now the cheese grater goes straight into the dishwasher and comes out sparkling without me having to touch it! I also tend to do all my food preparations keeping what will fit in the dishwasher in mind. Please tell me that’s normal.
So the title of this blog implies that the dishwasher has taught me a lesson, and I bet you are starting to wonder if I forgot about that part.
Truth be told, I got so excited thinking about the cheese grater, I almost did.
But the lesson.
I have pretty much always used plastic plates and cups with the children. It’s one of those things that I started doing when they were little, and I kept doing out of habit. We have a nice china set as well as every day dishes, and every once in a while I would say things like, “One day when the kids use real dishes…” but I never put a lot of thought into when that day would be.
In fact, even Josh and I had gotten to where we didn’t really use glasses any more. We drink water at meal time (or sometimes I drink a soda, I’m not trying to be a hero,) and we often would use the water bottles that we drink from throughout the day so that we didn’t “dirty a glass.” Our dinner table was a variety of inexpensive serving pieces, and none of it was pretty.
And then we started using a dishwasher. It became desirable for me to use the “breakable” dishes and glasses because I could wash those in the dishwasher instead of by hand. And it occurred to me that, yes, with the exception of Arrow, my children were actually old enough to be using “real” dishes. Why, they could even use open cups instead of the plastic cups with lids! (I do still use those when we are not sitting down for a family meal. Again, not trying to be a hero.)
So now, we use real plates and drink out of mason jars for family meals. I discovered that not only is clean-up easier, (hello, dishwasher!), but the table also just looks nicer and makes me feel better about all the work that cooking requires.
Do we ever have spills? Sure. But spills can be cleaned up, and we don’t have enough of them to make me want to go back to hand-washing a lot of cups.
But this lesson goes a little farther than just dishes. I think it’s easy when we are **blessed** to be at home with babies and toddlers and spend all day cleaning vomit and changing diapers and preparing food for people who do not eat, it is easy to think that life hasn’t really started yet. We day-dream about when the kids are old enough to take long hikes without carrying anyone, or go to the beach without having to worry about drowning in a puddle, or go to a matinee movie without having to worry about missing a nap time. Some days, the dream is big, like being able to take an overseas mission trip together as a family. Some days, the dream might just be about the day when all your children can wipe their own bottoms. (I am still not convinced that day actually exists.)
By forcing me to give my children actual dishes, the dishwasher taught me that my children are real people now, and we are living life together now. We may not be able to have the same type of experiences right now that we will be able to have in ten years, but that doesn’t invalidate the living that we are doing right here, right now.
And when I spend more time appreciating my family for what it is right now than thinking about what it could be like in the future, I may find a way to make it prettier.