- April 14, 2012
- Posted by: Sharon Greenthal
- Category: empty nest, parenting
I loved doing laundry when my kids were growing up.
I love the fact that there is a beginning (dirty clothes in laundry baskets) a middle (sorted and washed, dried) and an end (folding and stacking).
In the house where we raised our children, my laundry ritual was to sort and fold while sitting on my bed, watching television. In an odd quirk of home design – and certainly not to building code – my washer and dryer, which were in my garage, were accessed through my closet. What happened because of this unwieldily configuration is I did virtually all of my kids laundry while they were growing up. Rarely did they have to do any laundry themselves – partly because of my weird compulsion to fold clothes, and partly because I didn’t want them tromping through my closet to the washer and dryer. So there you go. The laundry was mine.
Even so, I’m not complaining. The clothes I washed and folded were tangible signs of the growth of my kids – from itty bitty socks to football player stinkers, from carters undies with hearts and teddy bears to thongs and strapless bras. There was a wistful sense of time passing through the laundering of my family’s clothing.
I’ve washed t-shirts from elementary school carnivals, middle school baseball leagues, all-star softball teams, the football booster club and high school show choir. I’ve folded countless pairs of jeans, from Baby Gap to Levis, J Brand to 7 For All Mankind. I’ve dried footie pajamas and blankies, boxers and baby dolls. I’ve sorted cropped tops, tanks, short shorts, and leggings. There were Barney tees, Power Ranger tees, Batman tees, and Simpsons tees. I’ve smoothed and folded endless sheets, from crib sized to king sized. I’ve shlepped towels to the washing machine hundreds of times, the smallest with a little hood for my children’s tiny baby heads, the largest for late night jacuzzi sessions with their friends. And then one day they were gone, all those tees and tanks, leggings and blankies, sheets and towels and everything else. And it was back to just my husband and me, a manageable few loads per week.
Sometimes, I miss their stuff. Even though they’ve been gone for years.
I know I must sound nuts, but laundry is life. It’s what we wear – how we show the world who we are, where we’ve been, what we believe. Each time I folded the laundry I felt about as maternal as I possibly could. By neatly folding the shirts and rolling the socks, I was telling my kids – and my husband, too – I love you, I care about you, and I want you to look nice.
I loved doing laundry.
Unloading the dishwasher? Not so much.