I had a dream about a woman. She was taller than me and thin, but fit—capable of feats of strength beyond those expected from her stature alone. She was older than I am, old enough to have experienced and survived many of life’s challenges that lay ahead of me. She had short salt and pepper hair and glasses that she used only to read or when we had a serious discussion that merited her full concentration.

She was around when I needed her, but away enough to give me space and make me feel like I still had a place in my house—in my world.

In my dream, I was working in my office an she peaked her head in to say, “I noticed some of those little white crumbs from the yogurt container in the refrigerator so I went ahead and cleaned the entire thing out, wiped all the shelves. Oh, I also tossed anything expired and added those items to the grocery list so you can replace them.”

She left love notes for me like, “I hand washed your bras. They are dry and tucked back in your drawer.” Or, “I changed all the sheets in the house. And, while I was at it, I noticed someone put some sheets in the closet in the wrong place (yes, I have labels on the shelves) so I organized the linen closet. I threw out an old sheet with a stain from a bloody nose and wrote down the size you need to replace on a list for you.”  And the real kicker, “I saw your to-do list and went ahead and vacuumed under all the beds and hand cleaned all the blinds in the house.”

She was sewing buttons back on and mending hems that had come loose. She was fluffing pillows and stocking my refrigerator with freshly washed fruits and chopped vegetables. She was there to pick up a kid after school when I had some work to finish and she was here to meet the pest control guy when I needed to go to a meeting. She ironed.

I paid her, sure, but not much. It was about more than the money for both of us. For her, it was about investing herself in a family again—about mattering to someone other than herself. For me, it was about gaining time—feeling like there really were more hours in the day to do other things, things that really mattered while the mundane still got done (and done by someone who had passion for those things).

I hope one day—soon—we find each other. Her, a family to call hers again; and me, someone who ‘gets’ all of those obsessive things that can derail my free time. In the meantime, I have to go…the kids’ drawers need to be cleaned out and sorted and the hall closet needs to be organized.

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