So tonight my recently married daughter made one of those adorable newlywed comments on Facebook. “Even emptying the dishwasher is fun,” she cooed. Of course, replies came pouring in from her more tenured married friends offering more sober answers to her question, “ how long does this last?” They can be summarized succinctly with, “not long.”
I couldn’t resist pointing out all of the hilarity she passed up while living under my roof. Back then, both of our kids viewed all of the loud electrical appliances like dishwashers and vacuum cleaners as monstrously complicated beasts that could only be trusted in the learned and capable hands of Mom and Dad.
Still, there is truth to her assertion that “playing house is fun.” Although she will soon learn that the more mundane chores like emptying the dishwasher do become routine, the truth is, it’s the chores of life, the daily work of making a house a home that bring comfort and provide a sense of purpose. It may sound silly, but I do actually enjoy the rhythm of domestic life. After thirty years I know what my jobs are. I take out the trash. I take care of the yard. I load the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen after dinner. Most of the time I vacuum and clean the bathrooms. Pam cooks dinner. She plans meals and buys the groceries. She cleans the hardwood floors. She does the laundry. We divide responsibilities in this manner not because the other is incapable, but because we have discovered that Pam is a fabulous cook and I can clean bathrooms much quicker and easier than she can. It has been a trial and error system that has produced a dependable and workable division of labor. But it’s more than that. It’s…comforting.So, when I see my daughter suddenly, miraculously having fun emptying the dishwasher, it makes me happy. Because while I know that her and Jon are just newlyweds and consequently know nothing about anything, they are in the process of figuring it all out. It is a grand and noble adventure that they have just embarked upon. There will be challenges along the way. But having fun emptying the dishwasher is a fine start.