Dear Mammaw…


You would think I’m over the top for crying right now.

Seriously. I was only doing the dishes.

Actually I wasn’t. And that’s the real reason I’m crying. Mason begged to do the dishes. Why does that seem so fun when you’re 3? I should be more excited than I am about this. I reluctantly agreed that it was time to let him try.

I got the water to a perfect temperature. I was holding my towel, prepared to clean up more than one splash in the 6 foot radius around the sink. I was ready. Until I poured the soap. It was then that I completely lost it.

I was back standing in the chair at your kitchen sink, staring at the snow globe keychain and the bunny figurine in your windowsill overlooking the clothes line out back. I felt so privileged to be standing at your sink with your dishrag washing your dishes. You trusted me.

Why was it so fun to do the dishes at your house?

I wish you could see these boys. You wouldn’t mind the mess that I’m trying so hard to prevent. We just ate at your table, the one with the crack around the edge of the entire perimeter that I hate because it collects (and keeps) all of the crumbs from the past three meals. I still have your aprons in the drawer on the end. I can’t bring myself to use them, but the boys like to play with them.

Doing dishes. It’s the most ordinary act I will do today, but tonight it sparks the greatest emotion. Everyday tasks are so mundane, so tedious until they transport us back to a place we wish we could still visit.

I suppose you had more patience than I do now. Maybe that’s because you were grandma and grandmas seem to possess a different level of tolerance when it comes to small children and their inevitable messes.

I felt like the princess in your little brick castle. I felt like life was perfect. It’s the same feeling I get when I see morel mushrooms or fried squash (even though I have yet to meet anyone else who knows how to cut or fry them correctly—you really could have had your own cooking show).

It’s the same feeling I get when I wash dishes.

It’s not quite as awesome now that I don’t have to stand in the chair, but I think you’re smiling down on the one who is. And even though that chair ended up soaked in suds tonight, I don’t think you would’ve minded.


You remind me every day that life is short and that lives are valuable and that the moments are worth even the greatest messes.


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  1. ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!!….(I say this as tears sting my eyes with my own memories of my beloved Grandma…)

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