Tribute

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Here's to the homemakers, the caretakers, the nurturers.

You know who you are.

And I want you to know that I see you.

I want you to know that I recognize all you do to keep everything under your roof humming, and that most of the time your effort, energy and attention to detail is not noticed, acknowledged or celebrated. 

This does not mean you are not appreciated. It just means that so many of the tasks you stay on top of are small, and happen while other things are going on. I know that much of what you do occurs right under everyone's noses, but doesn't actually register.

I know that although most of your work involves tiny details, it is the managing of them that takes skill and commitment and devotion. I know your work never ends.

I know you keep your bathroom stocked with toilet paper and that you fold everyone's underwear just so.

I know you keep the sugar bowl full, make the sure the lint trap in the dryer is clean and do your best to make sure the bills are paid on time.

I know you pack your daughter's lunch, make your son's bed, wrap all the birthday presents, mail all the thank you cards and wash all the breakfast dishes. I know you make sure there are plenty of eggs and milk.

I know at the end of another afternoon spent cleaning the bathrooms and wiping down counters, you feel downright weary.

I know you sometimes wonder if anyone else will ever understand how hard you work to make sure everyone has what they need in your home - from clean clothes to fresh flowers and a dinner table free of clutter.

I know you change lightbulbs, pick up dirty socks, re-stock the shampoo and remind your husband not to forget his niece's birthday.

And I know the space you hold - for everyone else's quirks and insecurities, meltdowns and needs. I know you provide a safety net for everyone who walks through your front door, and rarely feel like you can let yourself collapse the way they do. I know you sometimes have fantasies about getting the stomach flu, just so you have an excuse to lay in bed all day and watch movies.

I also know you feel loved - deeply loved - and you wouldn't trade this particular role for anything. I know you understand that the gift you receive in all the rarely noticed offerings you give to everyone under your roof is that you have these people to love and take care of, to shower with kisses and kindness. 

I know you sometimes wish you could walk out the door and leave, free of bed-making and recycling, of dirty sponges and burnt out lightbulbs, but then you stop and remember how magnificently lonely you would be without this beautiful family of yours to love.

This work you do - day in and day out - has been done throughout the world, throughout history. You are one of many in a large, global community of individuals who were never celebrated at a banquet, on an awards show, with a trophy or in a magazine. The world doesn't revere the work you do. It is simply work that needs to be done - whether your home is in Portland, Mumbai, Buenos Aires or Paris - and you are the one willing to step up to the plate and do it. 

You do it gracefully. You do it with so much love in your heart.

You do it because it needs to be done - because these are the people you love most on earth, the ones you'd walk over hot coals for. You do it because the world is hard, and you want there to be at least one tiny part of their universe to feel safe, to be warm, to smell good, to be home.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide