My dishwasher broke down two days ago. I thought, oh boy...dishpan hands. So for the past few days, yes, I have dishpan hands. But something surprising is happening. I find myself smiling while washing dishes. I am reflecting on good memories without even realizing I'm doing it.
When I'm standing there at the sink, gazing out my sunny window, I am thinking of my grandmas. I am doing a household duty the way they did it.
Although I usually have a working dishwasher, I still have liquid dish soap on hand for quick clean ups and I stick to the ones my grandmas used.
My maternal grandma used Palmolive which has the beautiful emerald green color. My paternal grandma used Dawn, the color of ocean blue.
When I use my Palmolive it transports me directly to my grandma's kitchen when I was little. She was at that sink more than three times per day cleaning up after all of us and never once complaining. She had a small, square kitchen in brown and beige. She made nourishing meals for us. For many years, I spent two weeks every summer at their house on the lake.
My paternal grandma was also very traditional and had such magnificent style. She had an eat-in kitchen in the shape of a rectangle. Soft blue and white are how I remember her kitchen with one door leading to the personally landscaped backyard and one door leading to the basement, where she did all her laundry. She had a sponge cleaner to wash dishes. I loved that little thing. It bright yellow in the shape of an everlasting gobstopper atop a magic wand. That is how I thought of it, anyhow.
I wish I could stand next to my grandmas right now while they wash dishes. I would watch them. I would admire them. I would ask them all about their lives.
My grandmas were very different from each other in many ways. But other ways, so very much alike. They were both excellent homemakers and both desperately devoted to their husbands.
I am going to take this broken dishwasher and learn from it. I am going to enjoy my time at the sink, gazing out the window. Honoring women of the past who worked so hard as homemakers. Harder than I've ever had to.
To my grandmothers: You are my idols, my teachers, my heroes. I miss you both every day and treasure memories of you.
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