I grew up watching both my grandmothers turn their kitchens into a gathering place of joy and laughter, a conference room for important family discussions, as well as a counseling center to give much needed advice to my parents, aunts, and uncles. My fondest memories, however, involve me watching them wash dishes and listening to the hums which would gradually crescendo and erupt into a full blown shout of "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" After witnessing this on multiple occasions in two separate households, I just thought that's how grandmothers wash dishes. That's until I grew up and lived a little more.
Life has a way of bringing clarity if you keep living. The ups and downs that come along with adulthood, sickness, career changes, marriage, and family will drive you to a place of refuge, even if it is a kitchen. While my cooking does not remotely compare to that of either of my grandmothers, I try to make that space in my home just as meaningful.
Yesterday, I found myself washing dishes after three of us had left the doctor. I was diagnosed with bronchitis, and both boys were diagnosed with respiratory viruses. This is only the tip of the iceberg of things I had already overcome this week. Plus, it was only the first week of school. While my hands were mindlessly keeping the rhythm from washing to rinsing, I found myself saying, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" over and over again.
Finally, my 10-year-old, Tyler yelled from the other room, "Mommy, why you keep on saying Jesus?" Not realizing he was listening, I was slightly abashed, and responded, "I'm just spending some time with the Lord, baby." Immediately, I was reminded of my grandmothers. I remembered their strength and their faith. At that moment, something rose up within me. I could no longer sulk in my troubles. The connection I had with my grandmothers and praising God just enveloped me with such weight that it eventually lifted me. You might say love lifted me.
Today, after dinner, Tyler begged to wash the dishes. I assured him I felt better and could do them. He insisted. I gave in, but unwillingly. I began to micromanage his water usage, following his every move with nitpicking. He held his hand up at me and firmly announced, "I already know what to do. I got this!" What's a mother to do, but fall back and release a little responsibility to a willing child! I let it go and went to the family room to start some work. Shortly after I sat down, I began to hear whispers of "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" coming from the kitchen. It had dawned on me that Tyler was mimicking what he had heard me doing the day before.
I realized at that moment, that I was building my own legacy of a special kitchen sink praise.
Dedicated to the memory of Mary Agnes, Annie Mae, & Great-Grandma Agnes