The Kitchen

I’ve always danced in the kitchen. When it was my turn to do dishes I’d set up the CD player and scrub the kitchen until it sparkled while I danced to my favorite songs. If it was my sister’s turn I’d dance to her music and try to hang out and annoy her as long as I could.

When I moved out with my best friend, we would show each other videos or play music that would get us dancing as we made our food together, always keeping each other laughing, always trying to annoy the other.

Now that I’m married, I still dance in the kitchen while I’m doing dishes or making food. Even when my husband is the one doing the kitchen work, I’ll sing along, dance, or try to catch him off guard with a silly song. I’ll goof it up in my loving quest to annoy him.

Being silly with him is one of my love languages. Being happy with him is the most natural thing in the world. Being free with him is the one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced in this life.

And of course, there are the times we’ll work together. He’ll do the dishes while I dirty more and start the food. Or he’ll cook the rice and chop the onions while I start the biscuits and we both load the dishwasher. He’ll play a song he’s been thinking of all day, then I’ll play the one that’s been in my head, then we’ll both remember a throwback and add it to the list, collaborating and cooking in sync.

Sometimes, in the midst of the dicing and sautéing and dishwashing and song-playing, we will find ourselves suddenly and sweetly together, dancing in the kitchen, letting the water boil and the dishes sit.

I remember the first time he pulled me close, and we began to dance in the kitchen. My heart swelled with so much joy, so much love. There are a million things you look for in a partner, and a million more you don’t realize are so very important to you until suddenly: here are they are, or here they aren’t. That was a “here it is” moment. That place where hopes become reality, dreams lose their vaporous substance and you see them in sharp focus. It became so clear to me: the kitchen is where I have shared so much love. It is the place where good work collides with good company. The necessity of a good meal and clean home meeting with the blessing of a good soul with which to share it is a heavenly thing. I realized in that moment that I had always needed that in my partner: someone who would work joyfully with me in every kind of moment.

If we can dance while we make dinner, if we can sing while we dust, if we can find the joy and the love in the very little things, then we can do the same when tragedy finds us, when we build our family, when we move far from everything familiar, when we encounter every challenge life has to give.

After all, what is good food if not another expression of love? How fitting it is that the room in which we make sustenance for those we love is also the room in which we find our joy, find our footing to carry on, and decide to dance until the dinner is ready.

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