Saturday, September 10, 2011


Are you really going to rhapsodize about the kitchen sink? Yes. I will miss this sink when we move out (which, by the way, is temporarily, indefinitely delayed). It is unique, quirky and a little funky. And, importantly, big enough for our abundant inflow of dirty dishes. The little sink in the middle is perfect for hand washing and food rinsing, even when the two sides are full of dirty dishes. It is just a sink. Yes, but a vital, functional part of our daily living in this house.

Does a house become part of you, or do you become a part of it?

When we move out of a house, we leave behind our fingerprints. Not just the smudges and scrapes that will be painted out, but the laughter, the tears, the games and the wrestling (have boys, will wrestle), the talks, the marks of time spent here. The food stains on the ceiling (!), pine needles lurking from the Christmas tree, and a few dog and cat hairs tucked in the corners. The dent in the wall (wrestling again).  I have left parts of me behind in different houses: places where babies were born, favorite dogs died, achievements succeeded and failures etched. I do think that walls absorb the mood and atmosphere of the people living there: the impression, literal and figurative, that is left behind of the lives lived within those walls.

When we move out, we also take part of the house with us. Memories of holiday crowds, birthday gatherings, the phone call, "Hey Mom, I'm on the freeway about an hour out, see you soon." The scar on the chin (wrestling again). The meals cooked, shared together as we laugh and talk. The quiet moments and the crazy chaos of life. Scads of photos. The atmosphere created within that house goes with us, carried over to a new house. New fingerprints to be smudged on the new walls, hands washed in a new sink, impressions and the atmosphere of our family that will create a home within those walls.
For me, this sink is a reminder of how much I enjoy this house, especially in the afternoon as the sunlight drifts in through the lace curtains, imprinting shadows on the sink. It is also a symbol of the day-in-day-out living that goes on here: dirty dishes in, clean dishes out, growth and change and ups and downs and learning and stumbling and trying again and again. Working with my hands to make this home, this family strong. Sometimes my fingers leave smudges and hurts. Sometimes, the fingerprints left are happy and colorful and creative. Sometimes the sink is dirty and stained. Sometimes it is clean and white and sparkling. Like life. Lived here. Fingerprints and all.


  1. Oh, Mo - how right you are! First of all - I love your sink photos with the sun casting the shadow of your lovely lace curtains on the white sink! Beautiful!

    I have the same feelings about houses - especially long time family homes like that of my grandparent's house - they're now gone and our family is trying to sell it. Built by grandpa in 1937, it was the home my father was raised in and I remember so many family gatherings in - and that kitchen - what smells have dwelt there!

    All empty now. Waiting for a buyer in this economy. How I shall weep when it is gone. We had to liquidate all the furnishings - we all shed many tears. Grandma kept the house like a time capsule of the early to mid-20th century. She rarely upgraded anything.

    I often wonder what will be my lot emotionally when I have to (as oldest) do something with my childhood home that daddy built. He's 84 and still lives there - and is healthy as a horse! But, it is full of so many memories . . .

    Bless you as you plan your move.


  2. Thank you Kathy, I really appreciate your comments. It's hard to explain how an inanimate object, like a house, can have so much personality. Hard to say without sounding a bit crazy...glad you understand. Must have been a tough job to clean out your grandparent's house, one I will have to face with my parents some day, too. Hope your school week goes well!