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Dirty Dishes Aren’t the End of the World

I was quite irritated when I came home from work yesterday to find a sink full of dirty dishes. The sink was so full that I couldn’t even wash my hands. As I’ve mentioned before, there are four adults in my house. We are all capable of washing dishes. I just usually get stuck doing it.


I announced nice and loud that someone needed to wash the dishes when I saw them. My step-son was playing a video game, and the girls were watching TV in the bedroom, so I knew they heard me. I then set about starting a load of laundry. Four adults and a baby go through a bunch of towels, and it’s best if we wash a load every day.

After I started my laundry, I went to the kitchen to grab an apple and the jar of peanut butter for dinner. I long ago learned that the kids are on a different meal schedule than I, so I eat alone around 6:00 p.m. on weeknights. They usually eat dinner four or five hours later while I’m sleeping. Anyway, I sat down in the living room next to my step-son who said, “I made beef jerky today. You should have some.”

Just like that, I felt better. What is it about discovering my kid has created something that makes my heart swell? I don’t know. His project explained several of the dishes. The kitchen wasn’t really a mess. There was just a vast amount of dishes. I could have insisted he wash them, but something stopped me. Maybe it was my maternal instinct to encourage his creativity even though he’s 20 years old. Whatever the reason, I suddenly wasn’t angry anymore.

Later in the evening, I discovered that he had gone to his grandma’s house to help her with some things. She called to tell me what a great job he did. Just because he was playing a video game when I got home doesn’t mean that he spent the entire day doing so.

I was really happy that I hadn’t yelled at him over the dirty dishes. A good friend of mine, who has since passed on from this world, once told me that I needed to learn to pick my battles. She pointed out that I fought for everything that I thought was right and proper. She urged me to let go of some of the small stuff. She was right. I washed the dishes and had a piece of beef jerky, which was pretty darned good.

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