I was going to write this very nice piece about mindful activity. An practice that is only beginning to take root in my daily doings, but there is the kinda’ magical thing that is going on that I need to jot down about a blue sponge.
Back in the long ago, David and I were always on the look out for the perfect dish sponge. David really loved washing dishes — very zen experience for him. I didn’t like washing dishes but I do have this thing for good tools. This was not a passionate search but a recurring, alway-short discussion surfacing whenever it came time to replace the tool we used to wash our dishes. Over the years we tried many things. We rejected the wash clothes of my youth and the sponge on a hollow plastic stick that David’s Dad advocated. Yes, the pleasure of washing dishes was, in this case, multigenerational. We used plain manufactured sponges and the more natural ones. I’ve never been clear on how sponges are made or their history. We used scrubbies of different varieties and many sponge plus scrubbies. Size and shape were always wrong, never comfortable in the hand—we cut some in half searching for perfection but that left us with something too small. The sponge plus scrubby models were never pliable enough to get into the corners and crevices of cups and pots. Forcing the issue would result in the untimely separation of the sponge from the scrubby.
This was a real first world, petty concern which if it was not for what I am experiencing now would probably stay buried deep in my memory never to surface again.
One day, late in our living in Indianapolis, someone found the blue sponge. I lean towards attributing the find to David because he also loved grocery shopping but I am not at all sure it was him. It was blue and perfect. The wavy shape fit in our hands. It was pliable to the correct degree. The scrubby was not too abrasive but still useful. We were surprised to be so happy with it and when it needed replacing we were disappointed not to find it in our neighborhood Krogers where it was bought. We began looking for it whenever we went into a new store, looking in hardware stores and home improvement stores. We had no luck.
And so David did an online search. I was surprised that he spent time looking online for a sponge but this evening when I googled “blue sponge” & scrubby for the picture at the beginning of this post, I was equally surprised how quickly I found it. David ordered a box full and we had them for years. Perhaps three or four. Perhaps five. The box of sponges appeared to be related to the baskets of loaves and fishes.
We opened the last sponge sometime around David’s heart transplant. We had real worries and concerns by that time and no one pursued a new box of sponges. That last sponge lasted until after David’s death and was thrown away and replaced by the cleaning lady that I had that first year. I was not cognizant of how disgusting it had gotten and was just grateful not to have to deal with it. Since that time, I have gone through the same ritual of buying something that might be useful and being disappointed, but honestly, I didn’t think about pursuing the blue sponge. I had forgotten perfection.
Then, one day two weeks ago, I threw away a used sponge and looked in the basket in the cabinet under the sink and pulled out a blue sponge. I had no idea of where it came from. I emptied that cabinet when the kitchen was renovated and I’ve reached for sponges in that basket when I’ve needed them since that time. I never noticed the blue sponge. But I took for granted that I probably found another ‘last sponge’ at some point and stuck it in the basket. And that probably, the sponge worked its way to the bottom of the basket and escaped my detection until two weeks ago.
So, I used the sponge. It is a great sponge. Just as perfect now as it was all those years ago. I enjoyed using it and mused that perhaps I should look for them online. However, about a week into use the sponge disappeared. At first, I thought it was under something, or in the dishwasher, or misplaced when I wiped the table. Sometimes in the summer I use the dish sponge to wipe the table on the deck and leave it there but not this time of year. For a few days, I kept expecting it to turn up and it didn’t. I asked Julia and she said she had not touched it. I don’t think it was her because she doesn’t voluntarily clean and she reaches for a dish towel or paper towel to clean up spills. I asked the respite provider who had been in the house during the blue sponge use and she didn’t think she touched it.
So, where is it? I am still waiting.
I believe that sometimes the beloved departed get in touch with us and I’ve experienced some of this in dreams or feelings at times. But nothing physical. There have been no slammed doors or rattling furniture or the like. And it has been four and a half years. I feel a bit silly even writing down this long story with such a peculiar ending. When I muse on a bit, I have to admit that the appearance and disappearance of a blue sponge would fall in line with David’s sense of humor, but my skepticism is very great.
A blue sponge?
And suspending disbelief for a moment, I wonder why a blue sponge? Its usefulness doesn’t seem to warrant the visit. Is there real or metaphoric cleaning up I should do? Is it something about perfection, or the return of some perfection? If there is meaning, if there is supposed to be meaning, where to I look?
So, I am waiting. Peering out of the corner of my eye in case there is something that I should be noticing.
Or a blue sponge.
On the Julia front: Some behavior on Tuesday that Julia told me about after school. During reading class, Julia was asked to leave the classroom because she had been making noise wiggling in her chair. Not quite sure how but from her description it might have been tipping the chair and coming down on all four legs. Her teacher asked her three times to stop disrupting the class and then asked Julia to step outside with her aide. Julia got angry and told her teacher she was fired and then stomped outside. She refused to take deep breaths to calm herself down when she was ask to by her aide. She eventually calmed herself down and went back into the classroom.
On Wednesday, Julia and Stacie, her teacher, rehearsed what to do if someone did something to make Julia angry. Julia said it was fun to pretend. After school, we visited her psychiatrist for out bi-monthly medication check. We tweaked her medication cocktail.
Today, Thursday, she had a good day. She brought home a sheet on which she checked off the kind of day it was and wrote one thing that went well and one thing that was a challenge during the day. She was late for social studies after lunch which is not so bad. In the car, she told me that the “new meds” worked really well and she could listen. She has never commented about her meds before. She may have just be telling me what I wanted to here, but still it is another inch forward connecting the pills she takes with her behavior.