I didn’t finish my dishes tonight. I love when they are finished. Because I can come down to clean kitchen the next morning, brew my coffee and start the day fresh.
But I didn’t finish them tonight. Half are still soaking in the sink. With food stuck to the plates. And BBQ sauce sticking to my crockpot.
Tomorrow I will go downstairs to a messy kitchen. I will have to stick my hand in the cold water and unplug the drain. (Something I hate doing.) And I will have to start my day doing the dishes I didn’t do tonight.
But do you know what I DID do tonight?
I popped popcorn on the stove with my daughter Selah, who is 4-years-old. Because she wanted to have a “fun” night. All week she kept saying she wanted to have a “fun” night where we popped popcorn and watched a movie and danced to music.
So I decided tonight was going to be the “fun” night.
And it really was.
She stood on the counter as the popcorn popped on the stove. And she laughed hysterically, the whole time, at every single kernel as it popped. It wasn’t really that funny, but it was “fun” night, so I joined her in forced laughter for five straight minutes.
We started the movie, “Because Of Win-Dixie,” and sat together on the floor holding our big bowl of popcorn.
And she fed me.
Every couple handfuls of popcorn that went into her mouth, she would pick up a piece and put it carefully to my mouth. But there was so much love in her eyes.
After all, it was the “fun” night.
So, we took turns feeding each other. The movie played on and there we were looking like two newlyweds at their wedding reception, but instead of feeding each other cake, it was popcorn. And we couldn’t stop laughing.
And she put her arm around me. And I didn’t want to leave her side.
The dishes were calling me.
But tonight, I just stayed. I just sat by her side, and watched the movie all the way through.
She put princess stickers on my shirt. Carefully, one by one.
She told me she loved me.
And it felt good. To just fully give myself to her.
To breathe in her sweet scent. .
I remember the first time I smelled her. The snowy night she was born, when they laid her slippery little body on my chest. And I wrapped my frail, shaky arms around her. And all at once, I loved her. All of me, loved all of her.
And an avalanche happened in my heart.
She’s not a baby anymore. She’s four.
But on nights like this. When we’re wrapped in eachother’s arms. She is mine, and I am hers.
And there’s nothing more sacred, more holy, then these moments with her. Getting low and laying on the carpet.
Feeding each other popcorn.
And laughing at all the funny parts.
Because it’s “fun” night.
And I love her.
And by some miracle, she loves me.
With a love more tender, and kind, and gentle, than I am worthy of.
And her tiny arm tightly around me.
Because tonight, there was this moment when I looked over at her laughing, and I was laughing, and just for a moment she felt more like sister, than my daughter. Like my friend.
And I’m going to remember this, tomorrow morning. When I wake up and go downstairs. And stick my hand in the cold water and unplug the kitchen sink. Because I’ll be wondering why I didn’t choose the dishes.
And I know, moms, we can’t spend ALL our days playing with our kids. Our houses would eventually collapse in a pile of rubble.
But let’s be honest, how much time do we actually spend playing with our kids?
(Without our phone handy, so we can space out on Facebook…which is what I usually do.)
I don’t play with my daughter enough.
Tonight, though, for a change, I just needed to “clock-out” from being Susie Homemaker. Because there are always dishes in the sink. There’s always one more thing to do.
And it’s always something important.
But she’s important, too. And it’s more important to her, that I lay on the floor, and let her feed me popcorn, and cover my shirt with stickers.
Tomorrow, I’m going to trip over the pillows on the living room floor.
And I’ll be sure to find some stray popcorn kernals on the stove.
And yes, I’ll reach into that nasty cold sink water.
But she’s the reason my dishes are still in the sink.