It’s a sad day today in our household. After a wonderful weekend with friends and family, I am afraid I have to report that we have had our first causality of our new dishwasher. I have a nine year old child in mourning and a husband who, while fiercely apologetic to our child, stands by the choice he made earlier today. You see the ability to make choices is incredibly powerful. Sometimes we make the right choice, sometimes the wrong, but the fact that we have the ability to make a choice gives us control over our environment and at the time gives us what we need or want.
Okay, so let me give you the back story.
We recently renovated our kitchen. After 10 years of a 1950’s kitchen one can only describe as “quaint and retro”; translation “old, tired, rundown and in need of serious work, we eventually have a dishwasher. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a great husband who works hard, is kind and caring, a wonderful father, but when it comes to the dishes if he had his choice we would eat off plastic plates and with our hands if it meant he didn’t have to do the washing up.
I can honestly tell you over the last 10 years, the only time we have ever seriously come close to getting a divorce is over the washing up.
The amount of conversations we have had over what constitutes doing the dishes; example; me: “soaking dishes overnight to leave them the next day for me to wash up is not doing the dishes!!!” Him: “It’s the best way to remove the excess sauce and it makes it so much easier for you”, well you get the picture. Anyway, so since the dishwasher has been installed, for the most part the arguments have subsided. Except for one. Me: “There are still some dishes that you cannot; I repeat cannot put in the dishwasher.” Him: “I will never ever hand wash another dish. If it does not fit in the dishwasher the first time, I will put on another load. In fact if it takes me five loads to wash three large pots, so be it!” So consequently I have had to monitor all dishwashing stacking (seriously are you kidding; no! wok’s cannot go in the dishwasher) until today when I was not there to oversee it.
Upon returning from the gym to a clean kitchen; dishwasher running, kids playing quietly I must admit I was impressed. Until I started to unpack it! It all started innocently enough. Cups; plates; spoons; forks; even the baby’s bottle all clean without a hitch. And then… one, two, three small bowls and what’s this? A fourth small bowl with some sort of bluey-pink sticky stuff. Oh No!!! It was our daughters hand painted (with such care, time and effort, I mean this bowl took hours to perfect), multi-coloured love heart bowl reduced to a bowl with melted splotches of purple paint. Well I mean do I need to continue.
There were tears, (her), apologies (him) and fast talking “we can always do another one, I’ll buy you one tomorrow” (me). You see that choice of putting the hand painted bowl in the dishwasher as “I will never ever hand wash anything again in my life”, did not end well. But it got me thinking. We are so lucky as every day we can make choices. We can communicate/talk/tell people what we want and need, but some people are not as fortunate as us. Imagine not having that control or power over your life. How hard would that be. Did you know that one in every seven people have a communication difficulty?
I am so lucky to be able to help others, specifically children, regain that control, whether it be through words, gesture, pictures or any other communication system that may work for them. But it’s not just me; we can all play a role in helping others communicate with the world around us. All of us can help create the opportunities for others to communicate by acknowledging the power of a simple choice.
Now I must go and rescue the microwave!!!