Wisdom From My Mama


See that beautiful young woman in that photo? That’s my Mama and she was born in the early 1930’s. She was 18 at the time and that’s her high school graduation photo. I’ve learned so much from her and it’s interesting that the older I get, the more I realize that I’ve learned from her and the more that I’m becoming like her, which I think is a wonderful thing. She is the kindest, sweetest, most honest, caring, giving person I know. She’s always throwing out little tidbits of wisdom that have become a part of me, and I’m grateful for them. She loves to laugh, can cook like nobody’s business, loves to be involved in her community, and loves taking care of her family. I would venture to say that she is considers herself a religious woman, attending church every week, and tries her hardest to live a good life. We’re not religious, but I love that she sticks to what she believes is true, what she would call “stick-to-it-ivness”, and doesn’t try to cram it down everyone else’s throat. Yes, she may nudge every now and then, but that’s just her and I don’t let it bother me. She means well and she loves us and that’s all that matters.

The other day I got a letter from her in the mail (yes, she still does snail mail). It was a little piece that she had written, what she called an “essay” on washing dishes. I have no idea why she sent it, but I love it. There’s a little note with it that says, “Hi Sweet Daughter, how do you like my essay? Smile! Love ya, Mother”. That’s it. Just the note and the essay, which is so typical of her. Just send the necessaries and don’t add too much fluff. She’s a very no-nonsense woman that way. Anyway, I thought I would share it with you here, just to give you a snapshot of where I am privileged to come from.

She calls this “Washing Dishes”.

“Some folks find washing dishes a distasteful task. Maybe that’s why so many kitchen sinks are full of them.

Since I was quite young, one of my chores was “doing the dishes” and I didn’t particularly like it then as I had other things to do when where more fun or more interesting.

I don’t recall when I began to find a certain pleasure in washing dishes. At some point I decided I didn’t like dishwasher because the dishes had to be rinsed first and sometimes the dishes weren’t clean and they had water spots. It was and is too much trouble in my opinion.

In one apartment where we lived we kept our dry cereal in the dishwasher. Now days as I wash dishes I can look out my kitchen window and watch whatever is going on outside and I can pray or meditate and sometimes I will be listening to gospel music. I “saw” God one time in a coffee mug I was drying!!

There is a unique sensation of satisfaction in having my hands in hot, sudsy water (wearing rubber gloves) and scrubbing a pot or pan. And when I am finished and hang up my drying towel, I can walk out of my kitchen feeling really good!!

You may think I’m crazy for feeling this way about “doing dishes”, but I know my Heavenly Father has given me these dishes to wash and this kitchen and this house to take care of and He trusts me to do it.

Dishwashers are a great invention and bless all those who have one, but I think I will just store our cereal in ours!! (p.s. We don’t have one).”

After reading this, I realized that I feel the same way. I don’t need, nor do I want, a dishwasher. I like being of service to my family and it’s one of the ways that I show them that I love them. I also agree that they don’t get the dishes clean, I don’t like the water spots that they leave, take up way too much space, and use too much water and electricity. They also get really nasty in the bottom and that grosses me out. And because we’re on a septic system, we have to be really careful about what we put in it and dishwasher detergent doesn’t fall in that category. I just wash them by hand, saving water, electricity, and our septic system at the same time. Even when we have lots of people over and there are tons of dishes left over, it’s okay. Alan, Darrian, and I all get in there together and get it done. It’s fun family time that we don’t get very often anymore and that is more important to me than the convenience of an electricity sucking machine that disconnects me from my family and the simplicity of life.

So, thank you, Mama. I appreciate everything you’ve taught me and continue to share with me. You’re the most wonderful Mama on the planet and I’m blessed to call you mine.

Author: TatiaElizabeth

Hi! I'm Tatia Elizabeth. I live on a small homestead in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina with my husband and youngest son. We've got 5 children total, but the rest are grown and on their own. We do our best to live a sustainable life that is zero-waste and plastic free. I'm a sustainability consultant, an emergency preparedness coach, a unschooling mom, a radical homemaker, and freelance writer. I received my BA in Health and Wellness with an emphasis in environmental science from Purdue Global University in 2019. Alan (my wonderful husband) is a retired Navy veteran and personal development coach. I also love cheese, wine, and my family, not necessarily in that order. I'm excited that you're here!

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