The Kitchen: Heartbeat

I clean the kitchen every night before I go to sleep. Bob unloads the dishwasher and puts the dishes away every morning. We have grown into this tender pattern of daily care for our home and for each other. It has not always been this way. What matters is what we do now for ourselves and for each other.

There was a time, years ago when all of it mattered so much to me. No one ever cared about the dishes in the sink, the bottle tops on the counter, the spilled milk on the table, or the amount of dirty glasses filling up the countertops. I made chore charts and checklists. I made reminders. I found fault with anyone who tried to care about it all like I did.

My children tried to help and I found myself, instead of noticing what they did – noticing the things they missed. The soda tab left in the corner of the counter. The mis-aligned dishes in the dishwasher. The wet rag left on the table. One day it occurred to me that my relationship with my family was more important than my relationship with the kitchen. They wanted to be in the kitchen because they wanted to be with me. It was enough.

I learned to let go. I learned to say thank you. I learned to see another’s hard work and efforts and appreciate the intent behind them. I learned to end each day with peace in or out of the kitchen.

Now, I see that my gratitude for someone’s efforts in my kitchen is more easily found and that my satisfaction for my own work and intention in this hearbeat of my home is as satisfying as it ever was.

Lydia Patrick

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