when to skip the dishes.

i barely recognized her, this girl across the bar table from me, beside the picture window in the perfect morning light at caribou.  she sounded like my girl, but drawn out from her usual surrounding of brothers, i had to squint to really see her.  i came prepared to talk deep into her & her into me, mother & daughter;  she brought her notebook, borrowed my pencil, & drew a picture of herself drinking her smoothie.  i was startled to see her this clearly.  what a beautiful view.  that i nearly missed.

this past weekend, in the face of a sink full of dishes amid the usual chaos & my parents coming in a few hours, we slipped out, just she & i, no boys. andy & i had been meaning to date our children, individual jaunts for coffee or pool or the park with icecream.  with four kids at home all the time with both parents, the air gets a little thick.  one-on-one’s seemed like the natural solution to lumping them all together (they all look alike anyway).  but to-date, we hadn’t eeked out the time.

life, you guys.
there is so much LIFE in the way.

so, while i debated leaving the chaos, andy said, “go.”
i am ever indebted to his aggressiveness.

my friend shannon posted this on facebook tonight:

“And every day the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, ‘this is important!  & this is important!  & this is important!  you need to worry about this!  & this!  & this!’  And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart, & say, ‘NO.  this is what’s important.'”
~leonie dawson.

isn’t that the Truth?  it’s super easy to spin our wheels (& when i say “our,” i mean “my”), to clean our houses & cook our meals, to work our jobs & pay our bills, & neglect what’s important.  i blame my scandinavianness, but i love having everything just so before i relax & enjoy my life.  as in, i actually had a revelelation a couple mornings ago (i’m flying my freak flag here) as i woke up & read a novel for pure joy  by myself:  i’m enjoying my life!  before i’ve done any work!  & then, then! i had not one but two(!) thick mugs of mint tea, deep with cream alongside my breakfast.  i felt like i’d just swallowed summer.

as it turns out (& i don’t know who made this rule but i will kiss them Him), we don’t have to wait for perfected doneness before we start living.  it ain’t comin’.  believe me, i’ve waited, a despondent girl sitting on her suitcase beside the tracks at the train station.  perfect ain’t a-comin’.

in the meantime, we’ve got things to do, my friends.  dreams to chase.  stories to write.  lives to live.  dates to plan.  dishes to skip.

we were meant for great things, you & i.

let’s not hesitate as we scan the countertop, the inbox, seeing if we’ve done enough.
you have, & you are.

let’s not forget to be art as we do our work.
let’s not neglect the art for the work.

go plan yourself a date.
tweaking the machine alongside you,
as always.


p.s.  after much begging & pleading, we finally let the kids start their own blogs.  my oldest, javin, writes at:  javinmakesascene.wordpress.com.  thalia, the girl in our world, will soon be at:  thejanetrain.wordpress.com.  i’m pretty proud of them for finally twisting my arm hard enough to let them on my computer. . . .

8 thoughts on “when to skip the dishes.

  1. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. .. it’s easy during my days to find distraction from the important and recently I’ve often found myself deliberately muttering “do what’s important. do things that matter.” and it has transformed my days. that’s not to say that I don’t fail, that I don’t find myself distracted by things that don’t matter, but by speaking those few words, it’s had a powerful effect on my view. And the quote from Leonie Dawson is so transformative! “…Yank back your hand, and put it on your heart….” My goodness. Yes.

  2. So-you NAILED it once again-of course-bc that’s what u do! Gonna write that quote down and put it everywhere I look. This week all 4 boys-mic included-have been home with varying stages with pinkeye. Isaac if course wanted to hang out in the fish-house on his day off of school. With me. Was split between the honor of him wanting me and the crap on the counters and floors and five loads of laundry to do…we went out to the fish house and I was treated to a 3 hour guided ice fishing trip! I love that boy! And then it dawned on me that spending time in my boy’s world is NOT a waste of time. He held my hand all the way back up to the house…my almost 11 year old -pre-teen hockey player held my hand. Tight. The day was a dream.

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