Housework never ends, I tell myself, as I open the oven door to bake the baguettes. Soon, the house will be filled with the unique fragrance of freshly baked bread, while I must clean the flour coated counter and scrape the sticky dough from the bowl. The breads are ready, fresh, and crunchy, holding the wonderful and simple taste of bread.
The housework never ends. The food is eaten, the sink is filled with dirty dishes, then the dishes are washed, the sink is empty, then full again. The clothes come out of dryer fragrant and soft, and then make their way back to the laundry bin. Dog hair and cat hair are all over the place; we sweep the floor, and they come back, rebellious, grey, and black, and white and auburn.
Housework is repetitive, and mostly transparent, like the people who perform them. I do not get paid to do them, and they never appear as part of the GDP.
Parenting is another labor that never ends. We change diapers, breast of bottle feed. We hold a baby in a slow and tired dance to the light of the moon, until blessed sleep comes, at least for a couple of hours. We softly blow on a fresh and sore cut, and gently touch a burning forehead. We follow – with a watchful eye – as they climb the merry go round for the first, fifth and a hundredth time. We keep a wakeful ear when they go out on a weekend night, waiting to hear the key in the door. Care work never ends.
Love is a labor that never ends. It is quotidian, made of endless forgotten and remembered moments. It is made of small gestures, birthday cakes and little post-it notes on the fridge. It is made of text messages about picking the kids up and grocery shopping, sometimes, with a little heart shaped emoji.
Making a home is a labor that never ends. We notice spider webs in a far corner of the kitchen, or mildew that spread since winter. We notice the chaos in the drawers that we swore to deal with as soon as we have a moment to breathe.
Housework never ends, even when we grow weary of it, or decide to break free for a while. They always come back to grab our attention and teach us a lesson in humility. They remind us, without reproach, that our actions in this world rarely yield one-of-a-kind creation, but rather, and series of repetitive actions, with no fame nor glamor, but that are nevertheless critical to our existence.
Those labor of love and care, cleaning, and grooming, nourishing, and sustaining, never end.
Healing the world never ends, nor does resistance to injustice. Sometimes it takes years for it to bear fruit. Sometimes we must work real hard just to maintain past gains. We take to the streets, time and time again, to mend new cracks and expose the dirt that built up in the unlit corners. We write petitions and position papers, we show up to committee hearing, we organize vigils, and post on social media and chase the papers to publish our op-eds. And the metaphorical sink is once again filled with dirty dishes that nee washing, and dirty laundry that requires airing, and silences that must be broken.
The labors of protest, of resistance and of healing the world never end. even when we grow weary of it, or decide to break free for a while. They always come back to grab our attention and teach us a lesson in humility. They remind us, without reproach, that our actions in this world rarely yield one-of-a-kind creation, but rather, and series of repetitive actions, with no fame nor glamor, but that are nevertheless critical to our existence.