In our story last month, we read about Pam making a birthday card for her mother. She had just finished putting the final touches of “I LOVE YOU” on her Mother’s card when she saw the stack of dirty dishes
in the kitchen.
Suddenly Pam put down the card and started back to the kitchen. Glasses first, then silverware, then china; that’s the way Mother liked to have it done. Pam washed and rinsed them carefully but quickly. Finally she had the last pan dried and put away, with only the sink left to clean.
The visitor left and Dad came to the kitchen.
“What are you doing up so late, Pam?” he asked.
“I washed the dishes for Mother,” she told him as she made a last clean-up swirl of the dishcloth on the sink.
“Good girl. Tomorrow is Mother’s birthday, you know,” Father said.
“I know. Wait a minute,” said Pam as she hurried out of the kitchen. She flew to her room and came back with the birthday card.
“That’s lovely,” her father told her. “You mean you did the roses and everything?”
“Sure. But I still have to put my name on it,” Pam replied.
Her father looked at the kitchen clock and said, “Not tonight, Pam. It’s much too late. If you don’t get it signed at all, Mother will know it’s from you.”
In her room, Pam stood by her desk. She was really very sleepy. Maybe her father was right. Maybe the card didn’t need to be signed. She would put it at Mother’s place at the table right now, she suddenly decided. Her mother would see it the first thing in the morning.
She was half-asleep when Mother and Helen came home. She heard Helen go to her room. Then Mother came to Pam’s bedroom door.
“Pammie,” she said softly. “Are you awake?”
“Yes,” Pam answered sleepily.
Her mother came in and stood by her bed. “It’s wonderful to come home and find all those dishes washed,” she said.
Pam wondered if Mother had seen the birthday card on the table.
“And the card is beautiful, just beautiful, Pammie,” Mother continued. The words came in jerks as if it might not be easy for Mother to talk.
“I didn’t get it signed.” Pam apologized.
“It didn’t need to be,” Mother said, and she leaned over and kissed Pam’s forehead. “Even the ‘I LOVE YOU’ wasn’t really necessary, though it’s beautifully done. You see, the dishes had already told me that.”
Pam giggled happily and snuggled into her pillow. “As if dishes could talk,” she said. But she knew what Mother meant. The best way to tell people you love them is to do something that will help them, like washing a stack of dirty dishes.