Dish Duty

When Glory was here on Mother’s Day, she and I headed to the back of the house to work on my bathroom walls.  The kitchen was a mess and she would need a clean palette to create dinner after we accomplished our “wallpaper removing” goal.  So, I set Joy to work in the kitchen. I told her I wanted her to wash the dishes as I whizzed back and forth gathering supplies for our dismantling job in the back. My plan was not to send her to the kitchen unprepared. But, Glory happened to be in the kitchen with Joy.  Soon, Glory follows me to the back to say, “Mom. Joy says she doesn’t know HOW to do the dishes.”  There was great disbelief layered with discontent and slight anger in Glory’s voice. The hard part was the words I had to reply:
“She’s right.”
I could tell. Glory didn’t like my response.

When Glory was Joy’s age, we lived in a home with no dishwasher. We had a schedule and each child had a day for dishes and their own day to do their own laundry. We were a homeschooling family of five. We lived at home so there were a.l.w.a.y.s dishes being dirtied.

Now ….  not so much.

My husband left me.  Glory has grown and moved on. James is rarely here. Which leaves: Joy and me.

And Joy spends her life at school. Rather than having her spend her limited time doing dishes, I tend to do them. Especially since our dishwasher “gave up the ghost” a few months ago. Another reason I don’t require dish duty from Joy?  Our sink is ceramic coating on a cast iron base.

I once had a friend who was doing dishes and dropped a pyrex mixing bowl in the sink. He reached down to grab it as it slipped out of his soapy hands and it split down the middle to slice his pinky finger to the bone. It left his hand splayed open and his tendon disconnected. To this day, he still has pain with a firm handshake from a man. That extra squeeze for a strong grip can almost throw him to the floor.

Why did a bowl so easily break from a simple slip? Because the sink has a cast iron base. It doesn’t L@@K dangerous, but it is a dangerous, scary sink. It doesn’t take much for a dish, bowl or glass to crumble into shards.

With a scary sink and her limited time at home in mind, I haven’t forced Joy to do dishes very often. And to handwash them? That just hasn’t happened … well, not until Mother’s Day. With Glory here for just a few hours, I had to find a way to accomplish the dishes and the wallpaper at once. I just had to pull Joy into the equation. I explained the danger of the sink. She knew full well the power behind its strength. She saw the sink accident happen. We talked about reactions and how important it is to jerk AWAY from the sink, should you drop anything breakable. Trying to catch anything mid-air was a “no-no.” With a fair amount of confidence rooted in the knowledge that she was a witness to an accident in this spot, I stepped away from the sink and left Joy to work.

And she did an excellent job.  She finished the dishes fairly quickly. The dishes were cleaned well.  And she had no accident.

But, I consider that day filled with God’s grace. It’s only a matter of time before someone else is injured at our sink.

I have a confession: drinking glasses are our downfall. For some reason, people in my family, myself included, think each sip of water needs a fresh, clean glass. So, our sink is always encircled with rows of glasses. More often than not, the sink and strainer house more glasses than the kitchen cabinet.  And these are our favorite style. These Disney glasses are strong and stable. They don’t tip over easily because they are heavy bottomed. They aren’t too big or too small. And when we break one or two, we easily find a replacement at Goodwill or a yard sale.

About three days ago, I was washing dishes. As I was loading the sink, a coffee mug slipped from hand and landed on one of our Disney glasses. It probably only had four inches to fall. But, the weight of the cup and position of the glass that was beneath it, braced to catch the fall by a cast iron sink … left this rat’s nest of slivers.

When I first heard the glass break beneath the water, I thought I’d just reach in and pull out the two or three pieces of glass.  Usually things break clean in two rather than shattering. But, I could quickly see that this break was different. So, I drained the water to clean my mess and begin again. This is what I found as the suds rested on the sink’s floor.

I’m thankful that this happened to me, rather than Joy. And I’m thankful that I wasn’t injured.

But, this was certainly a reminder that the next job to be accomplished here in our home,
definitely needs to be replacement of this sink.
Because, dish duty really shouldn’t be a dangerous job.

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