I can do it faster. Really?
Grace has been going back and forth from the table to the counter to the fridge for about 10 minutes now.
No one has really noticed yet.
The other three kids have disappeared into books or the computer.
I’m checking my phone when I realize that Grace is clearing away the dinner dishes. She’s carrying each plate stacked with silverware and an about-to-topple-off glass. In the way she’s holding her arms close and rigid to her sides I can tell that she’s trying to be extra careful and at the same time as fast as she can be.
Her face is determined and I can tell she’s full of excitement and anticipation. She’s thrilled that she’s clearing the table and she’s hoping that she’s going to surprise everyone when they realize how much she’s done so fast and that they won’t have much work left for them to do.
A surge of pride runs through me, “Look at what a good parent I am! I’ve raised a child who likes to work! Yay for me!”
I’m tempted to go relax on the couch when I see that we need to hurry up. “Grace let me do that, we need to get going,” almost spews out of my mouth. Thankfully, I clap my hand over my mouth and let my brain catch up with my words.
I love this scene in front of me. I’m not even bugged that the rest of my kids have left Grace to do all of the work. In that second something I heard almost two decades ago catches my eye. I have it sitting above my kitchen sink begging me to see it, read it, remember it.
I see my 22 year old, big bangs drowning in a bulky sweater, self sitting in a cramped, small classroom. I’m sitting through yet another college course about family life and the science and dynamics of relationships in homes; I’m prepping myself to become a marriage and family therapist. My family work professor says, “The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship.”
She said it was vital. Super important to remember.
A family that works together is stronger. That side by side action of working on a project, big or small, dishes or Christmas tree, toliet scrubbing or painting the house, the everyday stuff, affects a family, fixes or hurts a relationship.
I feel like Harry Potter when his belly button gets that whisked away feeling as the flue powder carries him to another location. I’m back in my kitchen looking at Grace perched on a chair her curly hair bouncing while she lifts dish after dripping dish onto the counter to await being loaded into the dishwasher.
I walk over next to her, side by side, we work on the dishes. We talk about school, her friend, the chorus concert coming up, she sings, “Joy to the World” under her breath.
There are still dishes to wash. I rinse the sink and fill it with fresh water, squirt dishwashing soap into the rising water. Grace says, “Oh mom! Can I wash the dishes, please? I LOVE to wash the dishes! It’s so fun!”
I know this will take longer than if I just do it. I know that a lot of the soap and water will end up on the floor and all over the already wiped counters.
I see all this with my “I-can-see-the-future” Superpower.
I switch sink sides with Grace. I rinse and she washes. It does take longer. Water gets everywhere.
My Superpower was right…I could have done it faster…and better.
What my superpower didn’t see was how much more I would love her. It didn’t see that I would know more about her.
My superpower missed the inbetween moments, the talking, the laughing, hearing “Joy to the World.” It glossed over the part of the task where I love my daughter more deeply, the part where the world stops and I get off and I know that this moment, the one right here, is the kind I want every day.
Maybe my Superpower really isn’t one.
Here’s to the inbetween…
Do you have a Superpower that really isn’t one? Do tell…
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