I'd like to announce that after nearly three months, our dishwasher has FINALLY been repaired. We have a dishwasher again!!
Too, there is honestly something soothing and comforting about the task of washing dishes by hand. It is a ritual of sorts--- repetitive, calming, a purposeful act meant to bring order out of disorder. The same dishes passing through, the same physical motions... the warmth, the water... There really is something about working with water that is incredibly, viscerally healing. Yes, I am CLEANING DISHES. But... I am also finding a rare span of time to truly be in the moment. I cannot multitask while my hands are full of soap and water and the next smudged glass in line for its bath. Instead, I can become almost meditative. Contemplative.
Oddly, too, I have found that I feel a stronger sense of ownership, both to the house and to the dishes I'm holding in my hands. There's just something about putting my hands upon things I own and love, paying careful attention to their care, that felt GOOD. My sweet yellow and aqua bowls from Anthropologie, the little glass tumblers with the mustaches etched into them, a gift from a friend... The casserole dish I got as a gift from my mother-in-law... The Kitchenaid beater we used to make cookies... I think it's been good to reclaim a sense of pride in the things we've lovingly collected to have in our home. To care for them by hand... For me to get my actual hands on the actual object and feel it go from dirty to clean.
Another unexpected joy and benefit of this season of handwashing dishes: somehow, I began to notice that it drew my children near to me. Lucy, of course not being very mobile, was automatically plopped on her play quilt a few feet away from me, a couple of toys and books and (clean) utensils placed in her perimeter for her to play with. She was near to me on purpose. But Noah-- the wanderer, the kiddo unable to stay in one place for too long-- I think something in him began to realize that when the dishwashing started, I'd be stuck in that one spot for awhile, and if he wanted me to play with him, he'd need to come close and stick around. More than that, he didn't stay out of obligation and fuss at me to hurry up... He slowed down in his play, too. Often, he'd actually want to come help me, and I'd find myself side-by-side with my little man, him "helping" by dunking his action figures into the rinse water and making me help him act out the theater of a superhero world underwater.