i have always hated hand washing dishes. the standing. the grossness of all the food scraps in the water. the oily feel of pots and pans. hate. it. so when we bought our first home a little over ten years ago, i laminated a small piece of paper, and put in my wallet. it had the daily, weekly, and monthly cost of my favorite treat. and how much i could save up towards a dishwasher if i didn't get it. at Christmas, i asked for money to go towards a dishwasher. and, i got one. it was installed. and for ten years, it has been being loaded and unloaded. (it turns out, i don't like dishes in general. not just the washing them by hand thing.)
tonight, i stood in the kitchen of our new house, and washed dishes. we no longer have a dishwasher. we don't even have room for one. we downsized in square footage. we have three bedrooms now, but only one bathroom. but, most importantly, we live in a one story house. for four years, i have been carrying little up and down our stairs for bed, and for nap. it's tiring with a baby. it's exhausting with a four year old, and if you've ever carried someone who has low muscle tone, it's a whole different level of physical than a typical child.
on top of all of that, shilo didn't have access to her bedroom. if she wanted to play with toys that were in there, she couldn't. yes, someday she'll walk. someday, she'll safely navigate steps. but, for now, a one story house meets our needs much better.
as i stood washing dishes though, i thought of how backwards it must look to others. going smaller. and how at some time in my life, an easier way to do dishes seemed like the best thing, ever. but, life is so much different now. and moving tiny out of our bedroom and into his own room is great. and watching little crawl into her room and play, and come back out. it's enough to make me all sorts of weepy.
and to top it all off, our beautiful new home is a bungalow. the thing we have always wanted. beautiful woodwork. a fun archway between the living room and dining room. hard wood floors. a huge front porch that will one day house a porch swing. completely refinished, recently. everything and more than we could've hoped for when we began searching. plus, it's only three blocks from where we used to live.
this past few weeks have been long. we've had multiple trips to the children's hospital, an hour away. one for a sedated MRI, one for a kidney ultrasound and urology appointment, and one for pulmonology. we got good news. we got not so good news. we scheduled surgery for asher in February. we will be referred to orthopedics for asher's scoliosis. it's congenital. he has a hemi-vertebrae and some misformed ribs. we will be referred to a neuro-surgeon for his lipoma at the bottom of his spinal cord. his hydronephrosis has resolved. both girl's lungs are great.
a dishwasher seems so insignificant at this point in my life.
it feels cathartic to turn on music and plunge my hands into the warm water. it is comforting to know that there was a way for me to fix the mess that lay on the kitchen counter. that when i finished, things would feel new. better. controlled.
since the newest diagnoses, i've thought back over my life as a mother. where i started. with schedules and parenting books, and doing everything just so. and where i am now. my attempts in the beginning to do everything 'right' were because i believed i could control things. if i just did everything, just so, my kids would sleep well, and eat well, and obey. they would be smart. and healthy. so very healthy.
but, it turns out i'm raising tiny humans. and it's messy, and dirty, and they have genetic disorders, and brain damage, and misformed backbones. and, there are nights i lie awake, figuring out how to fix it all. how to go back in time and be a better mother, a better advocate, and undo the things that are broken in them. and as i lie there, i become completely swallowed by the grief of being unable to make things easier and better for my children.
and, so, the dishes become an easy way to fix things. to make them right. they were once dirty, they are now clean. and i can do it again. and again. it's healing. so i sing along with Lauren Daigle and remember that He can make dry bones into an army. and He can walk with me through hard things, breathing in life, and singing truth over me, much louder than the lies the enemy likes to whisper.