she starts the water running, warm, begins to fill the sink with suds.
i scold, no, no let's enjoy this time, let's just visit, but she fusses back that she just wants to help, to be here, and well, why not get some work done, too?
this is the time-honored rite of a mother and daughter washing dishes together: the hands ruddy and wrinkle, and the hearts bond over trivialities. we, for whom this is still new, remember the silent time soberly, for there is nothing more solemn than a mother who doesn't know her daughter or a daughter who mothers alone.
she washes; she doesn't know where my dishes go (a subtle nod to the gaps we're trying to erase), so i rinse and dry, and we continue the growing. we reverse-learn our quirks and tell each other our stories.
she tells of me-as-babe, the sarge who bossed everyone around. i tell her of shea's funny logic or avery's scaredy-cat ways. i ask her for advice on potty training (will he ever learn--yes, she insists), and we commiserate in this mutual motherhood.
despite no dishwasher (and months of my moaning otherwise), the dishes end too quickly.
water drains, gurgling.
the last dish is put away.
we no longer stand side-by-side at a sink, but the heartbeat of women working still beats.
i can't believe how big grace is, how far we've come in a year.