On nights like tonight, I relish at the fact that my back hurts from standing over my small kitchen sink for nearly an hour doing dishes.
Just hours before this I was hustling around at the grocery store grabbing oranges and rambutan, peppers and tomatoes, chicken and limes–a perfect plan in place for making taco/burrito bowls with the 19 people who would soon fill my small home. With a cake in the oven and meal prep underway, I stood on my feet for hours in the kitchen loving the process of cutting the chicken, the fruits and the veggies, all in preparation for a beautiful night with friends.
With forty minutes to spare, I hopped on my motorbike to go get rice to complete the meal. A simple task that took far too long to communicate in my broken Thai and still had me returning with eight orders of egg fried rice with veggies instead of the white rice I was sure I’d asked for.
Nervous there still might not be enough to go around, I threw on a pot of pasta to boil and stood back laughing to myself as I stared at the hodge podge meal in front of me. Pasta, burrito bowls, fruits, fried rice–an eclectic meal to say the least. Yet all of that soon fell by the wayside as the door opened and the living room began to fill with babies and mamas, smiles and laughter, sisters and friends.
Nights like tonight, I can’t help but think “take a seat, I’ll do the dishes.”
At the end of the night, I’ll smile at the fact that grains of fried rice will be under the coffee table. I’ll laugh at the thought of all the different spills we mopped up with whatever towels we could find. I’ll close my eyes later as my head hits the pillow and give thanks for the laughter that filled the house, the squeals and cries, the hugs hello and goodbye. And I’ll be thankful for the pain in my back from washing what feels like every dish I own–deeply, deeply thankful for what each one represents.
On a Thursday night like tonight, I find myself deeply grateful for the collection of shoes that filled my front porch for two hours. Each pair representing a different woman, a different child, a different walk of life. We are a community who come from so many different places. At almost no point can someone speak and everyone else in the room understand without translation. We are a community of different languages, different religions, and different experiences. And for each of these things, I am deeply, deeply grateful. Because on nights like this, those differences aren’t barriers to be torn down. They’re beautiful reminders of how a family can form. They’re reminders of the beautiful gift this community of women truly is.
So take a seat. Come in and crowd around my small table. Pile too close to one another on the couch. Fill up the floor with toys and dishes and bodies till there is hardly a space for us to place our feet. And at the close of the night, I’ll do the dishes–thankful for the time spent with family and friends.