Monday, October 15, 2012
"...there is no such thing as a charmed life, not for any of us, no matter where we live or how mindfully we attend to the tasks at hand. But there are charmed moments, all the time, in every life and in every day, if we are only awake enough to experience them when they come and wise enough to appreciate them."
I used to have a seriously awful relationship with laundry. I detested it and I was pretty sure that it detested me. It smirked at me, filling immediately upon emptying out. It mocked my attempt to control it. It dominated my pitiful efforts and constantly reminded me who was in charge. It was overwhelming, unruly and very disobedient. Kind of like a dog with no manners, my laundry spilled out everywhere, climbed up on me when I tried to shirk it away and constantly hounded me.
All that changed in just one moment.
My mom was taking care of Jack and Mary Kate for me while I was at a hospital appointment with tiny baby Patrick. I came home and my mom was doing my laundry...putting it away, folding it in her careful way, organizing and helping. I must have had a look on my face of angst or sadness and my mom asked me some sort of question about the laundry. I just started crying. I told her what was in my heart, "Don't you see? I just want to be doing what you're doing...just taking care of the kids, doing my crappy laundry, myself. I don't want any of this hospital stuff. I just want to be here."
Suddenly laundry looked pretty good.
I made a mental note in that moment to never take the ordinary, mundane, insidiously repetitive household chores for granted. You see, if you are doing those things, your life is pretty great. You have a family that needs tending, children that need cleaning, and the ability to get it done. Laundry became my indicator of just how good our life was. Full to the brim meant a full life for me. I looked at those clothes, towels, sheets and blankets as the stitches of my daily life and the chance to clean them and put them away as a neat hem on a gorgeous wrap around family blanket. Finding baby clothes in there once again became a secret gift. Onesies, footy pajamas, the occasional binkie all reminded me of the fleeting moments of babyhood.
I mark time with the laundry...finding sports jerseys, school uniforms, seasonal kitchen towels and even the university T-shirt that would never would have been in my pile except that Jack spends his days there now. Like all of life I can see the change in my world by the size of my pile. Soon enough Mary Kate will be doing her own laundry far away from here and my pile will get even smaller.
I find peace in the pile...comfort in the folding and organizing and the joy in having a family and a giant-sized Mount Washmore, as my friend with six kids affectionately calls it. I know all too well that this time of family laundry is only a season of life. Even though that season feels forever-long; it ends.
So today I'm grateful for the overflowing laundry basket -- happy to know John's raggy old favorite T-shirts, comforted by the Rapunzel underwear and reminded by the larger and larger socks and pants of my growing kids just how quickly it goes.
I'm grateful to have a family -- Mt Washmore and all.