I realized this week how easy it is to get so used to the way we do things that deviating from that, even necessarily, can seem impossible. I was reminded of this by my youngest daughter. Yesterday was her day to clean the kitchen. The kids are on summer break for a few more months and we have given them more and more responsibility as the summer has progressed. Moira was in charge of unloading and loading the dishwasher and doing general cleaning of the entire kitchen. I must add here that Jon did tell them if they were in charge of the kitchen for the day, they got to choose what to watch on TV. This may have contributed to Moira's fast thinking during her chores.

We have almost always had a dishwasher. There were a few years where we didn't and, to be honest, we ate mostly on paper plates. We buy the detergent that comes in a compressed tablet. Usually the kind with the red ball in the middle. I have no idea what the red ball is supposed to do, but if it's there, then it must be special, right? In any case, it's easy to add soap to the dishwasher -- just unwrap the little package and throw it in. We have been out of soap tablets for a few days, and we are using powdered dishwashing detergent in a bright green box -- something I think my sister-in-law left when she moved into a place with no dishwasher. The box is hard to miss and it sits right on top of the dishwasher, a little below eye level on an 11-year-old.

It is so ingrained in Mo that you use the little tablets, that it didn't occur to her there was any other way to run the dishwasher. She didn't want to leave it undone because then she wouldn't be able to watch TV. So... you may have guessed by now that she used liquid dish soap. When I first got home from work, it wasn't apparent what had happened. I opened the dishwasher to get something and noticed bubbles on the bottom. Not a lot. I first thought the dishwasher had not finished it's cycle (it happens sometimes when it is opened prematurely). I started a rinse cycle and not two minutes later bubbles were pouring out of the bottom of the dishwasher and onto the floor. The inside filled with bubbles and after four rinse cycles, it was still a little soapy.

Moira never even saw the box that said "Dishwasher Detergent" in silver. Her mind went directly to the liquid soap, because it seemed the quickest way to get something she wanted -- what she saw as the only option.

I feel like this sometimes. The kids start school again soon and I have to work. I won't be there to see them off to school ( I leave for work shortly after they get up). This is the first year I won't be able to do this. I wouldn't be so upset about it, but Jon won't be there either. I know they are growing up and able to do it themselves, but I am so used to doing it this way, that it seems impossible to do it any other way. I could take a shortcut and arrive late at work, but that isn't really an option. The answer is right in front of my face, but I am so unused to this scenario that I am blind to it.

I need to let them do it for themselves.

Just typing that sentence hurts. All I can think is why did I have to stop working from home? If I hadn't needed to get out of the house so badly I could be there for them. It seems so silly. They are the reason I got a job outside the house, yet this job is the reason I can't be there for them. Crazy how that works, huh? I guess we all reach for the liquid detergent every once in a while.

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