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Sometimes the Broken Dishwasher can be a Gift

I was hand washing the dishes the other day, because my dishwasher (only 6 years old) decided to stop working. Oh great; another inconvenience. So I set about hand washing the dishes, something I haven’t done since Bill and I lived in an old farmhouse we rented in our college town, Greenville, NC. This farm house was so cool. It was huge with four bedrooms, a living room, family room, dining room, and wrap around porch. The house had the most charm, and I still remember quiet, contemplative moments washing the dishes by hand in the freezing cold kitchen. (we had no central heat, just blowers in the gas fireplaces) Were we crazy to live in a place with no central heat or air and no dishwasher? Probably, but we were also young, in love, and had no children to worry about. Evenings were quiet, and hand washing the dishes, as annoying as it was, always gave me time to think without the distraction of the tv, about my life and where it was going. Then I had kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom, and I’d rather have a lot of noise in the house with kids, compared to quiet, contemplative (and boring) evenings thinking about my life. But since the children were born, there have only been very rare moments where I have stopped, relaxed, and enjoyed thinking about life and where it was going.

So when the dishwasher broke, what did I think? Oh great, another obstacle in my typical day of multi-tasking, errand running, and rounding up the boys. So there I was, squeezing the Sunlight dish soap into the sink, running the water, and watching the bubbles spring up. No TV surfing, no internet surfing, no talking on the phone, no multi-tasking, because really, what can you do while you’ve got your arms shoved down into a sink up to your elbows. So I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I listened. I listened to the noise in my house. I listened to my two boys playing with matchbox cars on the back deck. I listened to their banter back and forth. I listened to my 5 year old telling my 2 year old how to load dirt in the back of his toy pickup truck. I watched my baby’s eyes, absorbing everything Dillon said to him and eagerly responding, trying to please his big brother. I watched Dillon, as he enjoyed teaching his baby brother, Peyton, these things, and my heart swelled and a big smile came to my face, as I beamed at them playing so nicely together.

These are the times that we should stop and take note; because they will be grown up soon, and in their own little worlds; and I would’ve been too busy to notice. Because it’s the little things that matter so much. Things that I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t discovered a broken dishwasher that day. Things that make up the very cornerstones of our life; our happiness. Sometimes a broken dishwasher can be a gift, and that day it was.

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