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The Wisdom of the Paper Towel Holder

- by Michelle

The towels are folded, the dishes are finally done, again, and the toys from the grandbabies are neatly gathered back in the play basket. Finally, a Sunday morning to read and relax. Then I saw the wooden snowman perched atop the paper towel holder. I swear he winked at me, as if to brag that he, one of 12 exchangeable wooden emblems of the seasons, still held the towel holder’s seasonal throne long past the time of frost and snow. The first yellow tulips, now peaking out from under the dried leaves of last fall, remind me I had not even gotten to switching over to the Valentine heart or the St. Paddy’s hat. “Well, St. Patrick’s day was just yesterday, you’re not too far behind,” I encouraged myself.

My memory wandered back, over a decade, when my well-meaning mother had gifted me with the Paper Towel Holder that came with 12 small wooden tokens, one for each month of the year. I still remember the sinking feeling when I opened the gift. Each one of the cute wooden cut-outs seemed to mock me: “You can’t even keep up with the laundry or the dishes, how are you going to remember to change out the top to this paper towel holder every month? Then came the feeling of resentment, feeling my mom was once again, secretly chiding me for my lack of domestic management skills.

Now, a decade later, I realize my mom simply thought I might like the quaint paper towel holder, that no secret messages came with her gift. And, more importantly, I have thankfully learned that I can care for myself and my small corner of the world in all the important ways. Everyone now does their own laundry. The dishes…well, they still pile up, but somehow they always manage to get done. And the seasons of my life move on. Sometimes I miss a few. Sometimes I actually get a little bit of a head start on a season or two. Either way, I’ve learned its all good and I will be ok in each season of my life. Even the ones that feel out of control despite my best efforts of domesticating the Wild Mysteries of Life!

So, I wink back at Mr. Snowman and tenderly take him off his pedestal atop the Paper Towel Holder. I skip over the wooden Valentine’s heart and the St. Paddy’s hat in the back of the kitchen drawer. “Maybe next year,” I promise. And I place the April tulip atop the faded Paper Towel Holder, grateful for it’s wisdom in this new season of my life.
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