As always, the conversation is paraphrased, but it isn't far off.
I'm not sure when the routine of me doing the kitchen cleanup started, but I think it was relatively early my relationship with Hillary. Certainly by the time Isaac was born, it was well and truly in the category of Warren Chores.
I know early on she felt that I did a poor job of doing the dishes. I got better. Or her standards lowered. Most likely both of those things happened.
Before kids were on the scene, we'd split the work mostly. I'd generally take the lead and try to get as much done before Hillary could get a chance to help out. She did more than her share of work anyway and this was one non trivial task I could do every single day.
I know she often felt guilty if I both made the dinner and cleaned up. But then I'd grin and let out our battle cry of, "Team Taylor!" and she'd get that I was good to handle it.
Once kids were around, by and large I'd address the kitchen once the kids were asleep. It became a time for me to listen to a podcast and zone out while I did the dishes, put away leftovers, wiped down, well, everything because how the hell did the kid get dinner there?
I have crappy knees. Nothing exciting, but certain things hurt. Kneeling is really painful unless I kind of prop myself up on the bottom of my kneecap. This isn't comfortable, but I get along.
One day in early 2013, Isaac had had a happy and messy dinner, then promptly passed out. We were both pretty tired and Hillary was hanging out in the kitchen talking about her day as I cleaned up.
I always left wiping the floor to the end and yanked the table out of the way so I could get started. With a sigh that was louder than intended, I propped myself carefully on my knees and hands and started wiping.
"That was quite the sigh."
"Yeah, just the knees are hurting."
"They getting bad again?"
"No, it's normal stuff, kneeling always hurts, has since I was probably fifteen. Even when they are otherwise behaving."
"So you clean under the table every night and it hurts every night?"
"I mean, yeah? I've lived with it for a long time, it takes like two minutes. I'm good."
"That's just dumb. Why did you not tell me?"
And that was it. I still did the rest of the kitchen cleanup, but Hillary would then wipe up the detritus that inevitably ends up under the table after a meal with small children.
I'm not sure when this particular routine ended. We had a ton of additional support around the house for the early part of Hillary's cancer. It was likely sometime in there. By the time I had an extended period running the house myself, Hillary was deep into treatment and I was doing all of the mainline chores. It was definitely done by then.
For that period of time though, she took that extra minute or two each day to do a small thing that was painful for me.
I don't bring this up because I hate wiping the floor. I don't. It's annoying, but needed if you care about a clean kitchen.
I don't bring this up because I'm trying to canonize Hillary as a saint who was perfect. She wasn't. No one is.
I bring this up because this was what our relationship was like.
We were a team. Covering for each other in whatever way we could.