Posted by on Jan 4, 2011 in Exercise in Frustration, Family, Kids, Mom stuff, Parenting, Personal, Teens & Tweens | 21 comments

clean dishes on counter
After a restless night, I was rudely awakened by the sounds of footsteps and chatter just outside my bedroom door; the hallway hardwood floor might as well have been canyons.  This was unusual–my daughter and her two friends typically sleep in when spending the night together.  Today they had plans, though, so necessity dictated they rise before the earliest of birds had even begun thinking of worms.  

Seeing how they had finally gone to bed around 3 a.m.–"We couldn't stop talking…"–I'm sure in hindsight there was some regret about not calling it a night earlier, but I hardly felt sorry for them.  Their lack of sleep was due to choice; mine wasn't.

I stumbled to the kitchen following the invisible trail of caffeine, hoping aroma and drink would bring me to life.  I found the coffee pot alright, but I also found the sink that was empty last night full of dirty dishes.  The dishwasher was full of clean.

My 16-year-old son also had two friends over, and between the (c o u n t i n g…) SEVEN teenagers in my house, every bowl, cup and spoon had been used. 

 

Indignance began to rise in my person.

 

As an at-home mom, I take care of most domestic responsibilities, all the while teaching my able-bodied teenage children how to do the same.  They make their own beds, clean room and bathroom, vacuum common areas, help with laundry, and whatever else we delegate.

Unloading the dishwasher is at the top of their chore list, so unless absolutely necessary, I rarely do that for them.  This morning was not one of those days I felt inclined.

With the girls here, I gave up my last cup of coffee–the one I didn't need anyway.  I assured them I could make another pot if I wanted some, and off they went.  

Most likely sleep deprivation was shaping my ill temperament, but when I made that second cup of coffee and it was weak and a step above dirty dishwater, I mentally blamed the teenagers for wrecking my morning!  Dirty dishes, not enough caffeine (which I should've taken as a sign from God to stop at one), keeping me up too late last night, waking me up too early this morning–I was a hot mess of mean and spiteful (which if you know me, is NOT me).  

To make some kind of misguided, sanctimonious point, I slapped on my pink rubber gloves and washed everything, leaving the dishes on the counter to dry.  The boys would have those and the full dishwasher to put away when they got up, my daughter was off the hook with her prior commitment.

There!  That would show them!

And then it hit me–

That herd of teenagers could have been a lot of other places last night; they could've been

…spending money they don't really have,

…on the road, which presents its own brand of danger, 

…falling to temptations that lurk in corners and shadows…

but instead they were in our home…

watching movies…

   playing ping pong and X-box…

baking cookies…

   working on their music (and dreams)…

hanging out with friends…

   eating lots of junk…

and getting dishes dirty.

 

Poof!  Just like that my perspective shifted, my heart filled with thanks, and I realized sometimes

minor inconveniences are blessings in disguise.