for Merry Nell Drummond on her birthday (10/18)



You always did the dishes, when I was growing up

so now that I am grown up

I do the dishes.


It’s a long time to stand if you do it right

(like you did)

wipe dishes spotless before they’re machine-scrubbed

clean the sink, the counter

mop the floor.


Why don’t you make the kids do that?

my husband asks.


I shrug. Plunge my hands into hot water.

Today is your birthday, Mom.

And I am doing the dishes.


  1. Happy Birthday to your Mom Megan — I can feel the love in every word your wrote — and in your doing the dishes. How beautiful.

  2. Happy Birthday, Mary Nell – though I wonder if maybe you don’t celebrate a little differently now. Just want to tell you that you did a magnificent job with your daughter Megan. She is remarkable – kind and smart and funny. I think you would really be proud.

  3. Nothing like someone doing the dishes for us.

  4. It’s all in that wonderful shrug. What a great birthday honor.

  5. That made me cry, Megan. I think she would be really touched.

  6. It is all those little things… This is so touching Megan.