I recently read a blog post that stopped me in my tracks. It’s a Journey recounted one woman’s story of going from normal, everyday life to being a widowed mom of 3 in six weeks. It scared the shit out of me.
As I wiped away the tears while reading this article, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that trivial things, like the grind of daily routines can sometimes have a way of growing into needless tension around the house when we don’t have a clear perspective on what is important.
I thought back to the dish soap incident in my house a few nights earlier. Half a bottle of dish soap was sitting innocently beside the sink, clueless to the amount of turbulence it was about to cause. My husband cleaned the kitchen after lunch on Saturday afternoon so I could take the kids out to run some errands before nap time. Our visit to the grocery store was sprinkled with moments of wildness that only a 1 -year-old and 3-year-old in a shopping cart, dangerously close to nap time, can manage. I made it back to the house unscathed, carrying a weeks supply of groceries and two kids in my arms.
Once my daughters were down for their naps I started prepping dinner so I’d have one less thing to do when they got up. I went to wash up the pre-dinner mess I’d created and instantly became irritated that the dish soap was nowhere to be seen and there was raw chicken gunk everywhere.
“Where’s the dish soap?” I asked my husband with my hands in the air, not wanting to touch a thing until I de-salmonella’ed myself.
“I used it all, so I tossed it.” He said as casually as he would if I asked him what time it was.
I felt rage.
Normally it takes a lot to upset me. Definitely a lot more than a lack of soap in the kitchen. But I must have been having a bad day. I didn’t want to deal with the fact that my kitchen counter was covered in raw chicken and there was no soap in the house, even though I was just at the grocery store 15 minutes earlier. How could a person use half a bottle of dish soap to wash a couple pots from lunch? Now I would have to go back to the store and face Saturday afternoon madness. I was annoyed.
My husband knew I was ticked about the lack of soap in the kitchen; not because I rolled my eyes, or sighed louder than I need to. But because I told him exactly what I was thinking, in a tone that sounded like finger nails running down a chalk board.
It was not my finest hour.
I was tired. I’d been up with one child in the night, and then up early with the other one in the morning. Lack of sleep makes people crazy. I can vouch for that. The fact that we ran out of soap really wasn’t a big deal. Now that I’ve had some beauty rest and can look back on the incident with a fresh mind, it seems like the stupidest possible thing that we could have argued about. But that doesn’t change the fact that it happened.
The next day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and read the story of the woman who lost her husband 6 weeks after they found out he had cancer. Six weeks. I have a basket of laundry sitting at the foot of my bed that has been waiting to be put away for longer than that. This woman lost her husband in nearly an instant, and here I am, biting my husband’s head off because he used too much dish soap while cleaning the kitchen.
As this article put things into perspective for me, I instantly felt remorse for my actions. I love my husband and kids more than I can put into words; and putting things into words is what I do. But sometimes, I get tired. The stress that can come with having little people needing attention at all hours of the night can cause exhaustion and strain on simple daily activities. And when I’m tired it can be easy to lose focus of what really matters.
My family. They matter. I love them more than anything, no matter how loud they scream for treats in the grocery store, or how much soap they use when doing the dishes.
Knowing that life can be flipped upside down on a moment’s notice makes me want to let go of all the crap that doesn’t matter, and cherish every second I have with the people I love. Because no one knows how many more moments we have.
I’ve learned a lesson in letting it go.
Let go of the meaningless bickering, the trivial arguments, and love the people in your life with all your might. I was reminded that presence is a gift and from that moment, I swore to never again give a damn about the dish soap.