The Laundry [Guest Post]
Today I have a guest post by Jackie Kenney - enjoy her thoughts on life and laundry! I sure did!
The Laundry of Life
When I was little, Mom washed, dried, folded and put away all of my clothes. Then she would get the clothes out of the dresser and put them on my squirmy little body. Later, I grew independent enough to open the dresser by myself and choose outfits from the clean clothes that magically appeared there. Folded, mended, there they were, every day, just waiting for me.
As I grew Mom let me "help" sort the dirty and fold the clean. I followed her everywhere. I told her that our washing machine talked. It swished back and forth saying, "Wash the clothes, wash the clothes." The wringer was very fascinating. I soon learned the hard way to keep my fingers and hair far away from it.
I grew up and moved away from home. I had to wash all my own laundry all by myself. It was an awful chore. It required quarters and a large commitment of time . . . about a half hour. Truly the responsibilities of adulthood had fallen heavily upon my young shoulders.
When I married, the amount of dirty clothes went from two loads a week to three. Not too bad, I could handle it.
But then everything changed; our baby was born. This itty-bitty, tiny being, with her doll-sized sleepers doubled my work. Now there were six washers full each week.
One baby girl, then another, then another. More work; more time spent at the laundry-mat and many, many more quarters.
They grew. They dressed themselves. But they didn't like any of their clothes. They would try them on and throw them on the floor. None of the outfits that magically appeared in the dresser seem to look good on their bodies (but they must have looked great on the floor), It was time to "let them help". They learned to sort and fold and to put away. They learned what would happen if they didn't do it, too.
A little boy and a washing machine joined the family.
The laundry was everywhere; piles of clean, piles of dirty, piles to be mended and piles to be ironed. There were piles that had been grown out of and piles waiting to be grown into.
Even though many loads were worked on each day, it was never all done. It seemed that most of life was spent just getting ready so we could live.
Now, the kids are grown. The chaos is under control. The laundry piles are manageable. It doesn't take long at all to keep house. Here in the quiet, the preparations of life take only minutes a day. I have lots of time to live, but what am I supposed to be doing?
At church, a frazzled-looking young woman with a baby slung on her hip lost his little blanket onto the seat beside her. An older woman stooped and picked it up, held it to her nose, inhaled the baby smell and with a smile, expertly folded it and gave it back.
I know how she feels. She too misses the life of dressing and loving her little ones. We thought we were just doing chores. Chores kept us from really living. But maybe a big part of living is about dressing little ones and teaching them how to get dressed.
Maybe it's about teaching them how to work and how to live.
John Lennon used to sing that life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
I think maybe life is what happens while we do laundry.