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Laundry and Dishes: Engorgio

Any mom during this pandemic knows that something magical has happened over the last 6-8 weeks. It’s as if someone has walked around our homes uttering the Harry Potter spell, “Engorgio,” and we’ve watched the piles of laundry and dishes magically grow.


How did 2 people use 7 coffee mugs today?


Magic.


We’ve gone through 10 plates and 4,214 forks in one day?


Yep.


You’re changing your pants again?


Obviously.


Yesterday, I was attempting to sit and relax with my first cup of coffee, but try as I might, a virtual checklist of household chores seemed to overlay everything I looked at.

  • Couch - flip the cushions.

  • Shelf - tidy the books.

  • Table - wash the linens.

  • Floor - vacuum and steam.

  • Joshua - brush teeth and send to clean his room…


I also knew there was an overflowing sink of dishes waiting for me. And, I knew there was a mountain of laundry upstairs to be folded.


It was the laundry that caught my attention, though. I love folding laundry, and that created a soft-spot in my heart for a moment that allowed me to have a small epiphany.

When I was pregnant with Joshua, I was so lonely. Lonely isn’t descriptive enough, though, to cover how I felt. It was an epic solitude that created both a fountain of depression and helplessness, and a spring of life and hope that constantly flowed through me. One of the things that brought me peace and calm, was folding laundry.


Friends gave me baby clothes for Joshua and before he was even born, I washed them and spent hours hanging them on tiny hangers in his closet, or folding them and putting them in little drawers. I washed dozens of burp clothes and blankets and had them strategically placed around the house.


The folding -- the repetition of motion -- brought me peace. And knowing that I was folding clothes for the miracle growing in my belly was healing. Ever since then, I’ve loved folding my son’s clothes. I think of it as a blessing. I have a son! I have a miracle and he has clothes and I get to fold his clothes!


So, this thought filled me as I was sitting there mentally grumbling through my coffee, and I thought, “I have to do the dishes.”


And then I thought, “No, Sarah, you have dishes to do. You have a floor to clean. You have shoes to put away. You have linens to watch. You have cushions to flip.”


What’s the difference? It was just a change in the ordering of the words, and magically I went

from feeling pulled down by a list of to-do’s, to feeling exceedingly blessed with a list of things I have to do.


I have dishes. Thank God!

I have shoes and cushions!

I have a home that’s warm and tidy and I get to clean it.


How blessed am I? How lucky? The reason I have a long list of things to do, is because I have a long list of things I’ve been blessed with.


And just like that, my list of ‘to dos’ became a list of gratitude and I was able to sit and enjoy the rest of my coffee. All the pressure of the list disappeared.


Let’s be clear, friends: I did not get up and do anything on the list. I got myself another coffee and just relaxed with my book, watched Joshua play on his Kindle, and felt peace.


My house is still messy and the dishes remain undone. I’ll do them today while I listen to a podcast, and then I’ll go fold laundry and vacuum the floor and the whole time I’ll tell myself, “I don’t have to do this. I have this to do.”


A small restructure of my thoughts and words and… Finite Incantatem.


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