Dear Dishwasher Loaders & Emptiers,

Doesn’t it feel like you are always unloading and loading the dishwasher? It’s part of the daily routine. And to help lighten the load, I have some small children to help. Lucas does the cutlery. But my main man is Gabriel. 13 and fully capable of getting the job done.

I asked Gabriel to empty the dishwasher. And of course, all the excuses followed. But I had other obligations like walking the dog and making sure he doesn’t mess on the floor because that will be the next thing to clean up.

I walked Drew and came back to the take the boys to school. Gabriel claimed, “I emptied the dishwasher.” I nodded and thanked him. I dropped the boys off at school and returned home to finish the household duties. And one of them was to load the dishwasher.

I opened the dishwasher door and noticed that it was half emptied. And when I looked closely, the dishes that remained were dirty. Hmm… I thought to myself. I loaded the dishes from the sink into the dishwasher.

When Gabriel came home from school, my curious mind questioned… “Gabriel the dishwasher was half emptied but the dishes in there were dirty. I thought you unloaded it.” Gabriel responded assertively and matter-of-factly, “Mom, the dishwasher was dirty. But you asked me to unload it. So, I emptied the clean-looking dishes but left the real dirty-looking dishes.” My eyes widen. And I thought to myself, “You didn’t think to tell me.” But that may have been too much for a 13-year-old boy.

The moral of the story…

Don’t always follow.

Ask needed questions.

There is a way to get the job done – dirty or clean.

Teenagers have developing brains. Grace, grace, grace.

Laughter is medicine.

Lower your expectations.

Preface… empty the dishes if they look clean.

This morning, I set the table for breakfast; and truthfully, I didn’t know if I was grabbing a clean or dirty fork or a clean or dirty plate. But I came across a dirty plate in the cupboard and I giggled because it was so obvious. Dirty plate Jennifer. And I thought to show Gabriel. But then I let it go and went with the flow.

And it’s okay. It’s all temporary. It’s building memories and times of laughter.

Clean and at times dirty,