Saturday, January 19, 2013


So yesterday I talked about the laundry and how I miss that it’s not there anymore.  But the loss doesn’t end there.  Lots of household things are different.
Dishes… they’re not in the sink or left resting on the counter.  This was another area where Chris and I had a little tug of war.  He knew I wanted his dirty plates and cups in the dishwasher but he pushed my buttons and inevitably left them out.  He did it deliberately out of laziness of course.  He simply didn’t feel like it.
Chris would have a long day at school sometimes, come home hungry of course and create a meal or snack for himself.  No big deal, I understand the teen starvation factor.  I lived it too.  As a parent though, I got to live thru it from a different perspective.  Chris left me the messes which I didn’t appreciate… I liked it better when I was seventeen and left them for my mom!  I’m being sarcastic – although truthful. 
He knew how to cook, bake, fry, boil, grill and toast.  He did all of them.  I never knew what I’d find.  Even if he did cleanup it wasn’t usually to my liking so I’d redo his cleaning efforts anyway.  Maybe he knew that?  Probably not though, I don’t think he paid attention.  He did know I couldn’t stand coming home to his mess after work however. So most times he picked up but sometimes not.  The NOT days were an issue.
If I came home from work to find the remains of his after school feast we had ourselves a bit of a problem. (Well, I had a problem)  For one, it put me in an instant bad mood and two; it meant we had to have a few words… Chris was hard to be firm with, he had such an easy going personality it was tough to look him in the eye and tell him off.  That’s what I wanted to do upon immediate arrival in the kitchen.   But by the time I would march myself upstairs to his room for a good talking to I rarely could do it… I’d get that shoulder shrug and smirk and those soft blue eyes of innocence. I’d attempt the whole “this house has no maid” sermon and he’d sheepishly tell me how tired he was or how he was meaning to clean up before I got home.  He even told me on more than one occasion that the reason he didn’t put his dirty stuff in the dishwasher was because the clean stuff needed to be unloaded and he didn’t feel like doing it!  (Like I did???)
I even found – a few times – that rather than wash out a frying pan he had used he would take a paper towel and wipe it out and put it back in the cabinet.  It’s no wonder I had mice from time to time!  He thought he was cleaning up his mess in a tidy fashion but he wasn’t fooling me.  Funny thing was, I never told him I knew what he was doing.  I actually just sort of smiled at it.  He was ingenious if nothing else and I admired his short cut approach as well as the half-assed effort. :-)
I miss the messes and the kid crumbs he left behind.  As a very good friend of mine calls them; “kid tracks.”  I miss going to his room to say hello after work and finding a scraped clean plate sitting on his desk with a dirty fork and an empty half gallon of Gatorade.  I miss asking him if he’s hungry knowing full well he already ate but hearing him say “no, I’m good right now” and then wandering downstairs an hour later looking for his dinner.
I hope when your kids leave a mess behind you think of Chris and take a breath and let it slide, and if you’re the kid making the mess?  Maybe you want to do your parents the favor of cleaning up after yourself and give them a break for a day?  Maybe clean the whole kitchen!  You’ll probably give them a heart attack and they won’t know what happened.  Let’s call it a “Christopher”… you can tell them Chris made you do it. :-)

Thank you for reading.


  1. Laundry and dirty dishes. Two things that I think we can all relate to. And for those of us with teens and early 20 somethings still at home, we can relate to them a whole lot more;) I've been reading your blog everyday since you began writing. Each day that I read it, I re-think my thoughts on a variety of things. The messes that my daughter leaves behind, the empty plates or bowls sitting on her dresser when I get home, the clothes all over her room (not knowing what is clean and what is dirty). All of these things USED to cause me stress. I would be on her constantly to clean it up. Not anymore. Don't get me wrong, I would still rather come home and see everything picked up and perfect, but I have learned to "let it slide", as you say. It feels good. I feel better. We get along better now that I'm not "sweating the small stuff".
    I can only hope that when my daughter reads your blog later today, she reads that last paragraph twice and it really "sinks in". Maybe there won't be any dishes when I get home:)
    As always, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. I also am not " sweating the small stuff". The other night before u wrote about the laundry, it was like u read my mind. My son Tyler had asked me ( at 9pm) to wash a inner liner of his sneaker. Also his special Nike socks. They were smelling pretty bad. He plays basetball. But as I went down to washer it made me think of u. U not having any stinky clothes to wash. That made me sad!! Even though u are grieving , u really are making ton of us better people. I love u for that! U help me be a better mom of 4 kids. 15,13,8,2 One girl 3 boys. ( hugs) thank u!

  3. Dear Gina,
    Good morning, and Thank You for sharing this with us. Dishes, another overlooked household chore with so much meaning. There's definetly something to be said about boys and dirty dishes, and I'm confident many of your readers will relate to this story! I couldn't help but smile as I read your story, because it brought back a fond memory I have when we were kids.
    Do you remember the fishing bait John and I would make out of cornmeal, flour and maple syrup? We'd use a big pot and high heat, and after we were done, that poor pot would need to soak for days. Of course the stove and counters were a mess, and I can still hear you and Chrissy saying " oh no, I'm cleaning that up again!".... Is it too late for an apology?
    I hope you get a smile from this today! I have today off and oddly enough, I'm going out fishing in a few minutes. I'll share this with Christopher and Deanna on my way to the lake, and perhaps maybe even leave my empty bowl of oatmeal out on the counter. Sometimes men like to get reprimanded just like boys do! Thank You for sharing your feelings with us Gina, I love reading and feeling your thoughts, and I hope our replies are helping you everyday as well. Always In My Thoughts And Prayers, Love You, Eddie

  4. I will definitely have my kids read this story. I thought I was the only one. I come home from a long day at work clean dishes in the dishwasher, dirty ones in the sink and a heaping basket of laundry ( my 20 year Olds) waiting for me in the mudroom doorway. I can remember having a little fit because as you said the I'm not a maid speech. I did make a compromise on the laundry, it has to be in the mudroom on Saturday. The dishes that is another story. I can say that the other day I did come home to no dishes in the sink. It was nice. I will have to tell my daughter Chris made her do it. That will put a smile on her face. Thank you for sharing again Regina. God bless you. (HUGS)

  5. Regina,

    Good morning. Dishes...another household chore which creates a battle of the wills in my home with two teenage boys! Used to be with my other son as well until he got an apartment. Never has been with my daughter though!

    Reading your story today I could not top smiling and laughing! My boys hoard dishes in their rooms. My youngest son is in charge of the dishwasher. He's always going to do it "in a minute." I too get the I didn't feel like doing it answer! Then the I'm not the maid speech has to be said!! LOL!

    Teenage've just got to love them! I will be sure my boys read today's blog! From now on when they surprise me, just with the dishwasher being done, we'll call that a "Christopher"! Wishing you peace today and sending you hugs! Thanks for sharing with us again today.

  6. Thank you for this. Your messages always seem to come at the right time. I'm going to focus on letting things slide a bit...and hope for the occasional "Christopher..." and delight in it when it happens!

  7. Dear Regina,
    In reading you posts I tell myself all the time, and when I have friends or family stressed over their "kid stuff", I tell them... I am thankful to have my kids to be mad at and I say a little prayer for you and those who have lost their beloved children. Being irritated is better than being lonely for them. I can only imagine your loneliness and pray you have more days and moments of peace than sadness. Sincerely, Tina

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with all of us .. like you I find it hard at times after a long day to be in a happy mood when I hit the door and the chores slam me in the face, but from here on out for you will always be in my thoughts .. I will now smile, wave and say Thank you !!! I am blessed .. and my thoughts, prayers and love will always remain with you, your family, all the friends, and everyone else whose life has taken this journey .. as for my family we are without 2 and although family times hugely different .. we can take some of the love they showed us and remember they are there with us !! I have seen others before you walk this new journey and I have seen the love and grace with them of their children everyday and reading this .. I know Chris is right there with you .. you have an angel in your Army looking over you now !! be blessed !!!


  9. Regina the last 2 days' blogs have given me the most difficult time responding to... Mostly because it hurts me to read the struggles you are having with missing those things that are the every day annoyances. They are simple things we all deal with with multipe family members living in the same house. Yet now, your simple things have change...

    In my house it's not just the kids that have those horrible habits! I find myself saying the same things and being responded to by sarcasm, wit and even commical responses. I would love to say that I would think twice now about complaing about the dishes not being done, or the maple sugar all over the counter, or the crumbs or containers left all over the counter, or the stinky clothes being all over the floor in the cluttered messy room, but I won't... How else will they learn? Boundaries are necessary.

    But, like you, I will comment, and even smirk when they make their smart, cute remarks, but know I got my point across. My son and daugther have these strange voices they use when they are attempting to be cute to get away with whatever minor infraction they caused, but then they eventually do what is expected of them.

    You were on my mind this morning as I emptied the dishwaster and cleaned out the filthy sink, as I wondered if I could change that much to let it slide. Maybe for a little while, but then I will revert back to who I am, because I'm tired and don't want it all resting on my shoulders... They still have to pull their weight. I have had my times when I went on strike just to see what happens, and it got done, but well after my ideal time frame! And then things weren't done to my liking. I have learned to not reload the dishes or refold the towels when someone else did them, but that's hard! I'm my mother's daughter...

    I saw the pictures of you with the Wind girls on facebook today and it was nice to see you ladies smiling, if only for the brief time that the picture was taken. I hope the smiles happened more than that. Know that you were in my thoughts and prayers today...

    God bless....

  10. Regina,
    Ah, yet another never ending cycle. I think I do dishes as much as I do laundry. I think my 8 yr old is a teenager in training. Lately, I've been finding bowls, cups and silverware in his bedroom almost everyday. As much as it annoys me to do them constantly, I will try to find the joy in doing them. Every dish will remind me that I have my two precious beings at home, where they belong and I am free to hug and love them whenever I wish. I would love more than anything to have the ability to give Chris back to you. I'm sorry that I can't. Thank you for reminding me how blessed I am, even in the small and mundane things.
    God Bless You...

  11. I like the term "kid tracks", I need to remember's better than the word dishes which I say more as a curse word. My daughter likes to leave her dishes (yes I used the right term there.) in her room and do what we like to call science experiments...she leaves them in her room for days!!! Her room is down the hall from the kitchen!!!! maybe 20 feet away and yet she can't bring them to the kitchen and rinse them out in the sink. She and my husband can't seem to find the dishwasher, it's like it's a hidden object. sigh... my daughter will be heading to college in August and I will miss her dishes and her laundry...I feel very sorry for her roommate though. Sorry to go on about my family, I think of you every day. take care.