Friday, May 4, 2012

Laundry Daydreams

The only joy I get out of doing laundry – and it’s not of the trying of new cleaning products (a secret passion) – is watching my children’s life progress through the array of hole-riddled socks and debris left in the bottom of the washer.

Where I used to find rocks, a tiny stick used as a pistol, a bolt and washer (one of the boys is a like a crow), or a Lego-man’s head, the treasures have now matured. Gum wrappers, candy wrappers (when and where did they buy those?), guitar picks and little notes (from a girl?) are found faded and worn from the rinse cycle and the double-dose of stain remover. A house key, a withered electronics store receipt, and leftover change from the 7-Eleven convenience store add to the mix; Slurpees® are where it’s at.

I am fortunate not to be finding lighters, rolling papers (triple rinse-cycle on those), or shell-casings.

In the past, mothers have used the washing machine to their advantage. I think of a story I once heard of someone’s draft card sent through the spin cycle a few times. Oops…these things happen.

And as this is my 16th year of doing laundry for my children, I know I will one day strangely miss these stain-remover moments. Long gone are the days of burp cloths, countless tiny sleepers and undershirts too tiny to fold and too cumbersome to sort through. Maybe one day I will be blessed to have the grandkid’s wash mixed with mine.

Nowadays, cleanliness is at its peak for the highly groomed teenager. A shirt worn for only two hours ends up in the wash, again. At least he is clean - for a boy.

And that brand new shirt? “Can you throw it in the wash and dryer, Mom? I like it tight to show off my ‘physique’.”

Oh Lord.

As for the younger one on the brink of hitting those ever-preening years, I find comfort in the leaves and grass mingled in with the guitar picks at the bottom of the washer. Lucky to have a boy who still plays outside, I cherish the soggy leaves from the apple tree out back, and the pine needles in my delicates - I pick them off first.

I try to remember to empty pockets, but I rant that I don’t have time for that one extra step in my day. Their orders are to do it themselves. Bad be the day when I find a cell phone or computer flash-drive in the over-used washer drum, never mind the dryer. Of course it would be my fault, and I would be exommunicated from the household forever. As long as I made dinner before I left.

So I continue to scrub, fluff and fold, and really, I am not the one doing all the work. The machines do that for me. I only just recently replaced our washing machine after years of toil and trouble, so that in itself tells me my life isn’t so bad. My arms haven’t broken from all that laundry. The bags under my eyes from late night or early morning of sort and fold are testament to my involvement in the process.

I sort through jammies, undies, too-expensive T-shirts and the odd Teddy bear (don’t tell anyone). The reward points card from the electronics store hasn’t made it to the dryer, so it should be still good.

As I throw out another sock beyond help, and again fold the shirt that was only just worn for two hours, I find a Nerf dart and Slurpee straw (I have NO idea how THAT got there). Above my washer is a shelf holding every kind of laundry cleaning solution possible, and a tray holding odds and ends. I count up the change collected, and realize…

I think I deserve to treat myself to a Slurpee®, and maybe bring the boys along with me. I might not be doing that for very much longer, either.


  1. What a lovely story, Lisa!
    My stepson's mom confessed that she was doing his laundry until 10:30 the night before he flew off to Australia for six months. I thought she was crazy, because he was more than old enough to do it himself, but on second thought, maybe she was right to treasure those last bits of mommishness.

    1. And that's the hard part.....losing those last bits of mommishness. Thank you for reading, Rachel...hope you are well! Lisa

  2. Aw, beautiful story, Lisa. Oh and I know just what you are talking about too. I also get nuts, washers, electrical connections, wire ends, nails, and weird metal clips... thanks to my husband who will never grow up and check his own pockets. I do admit, I do like to find that stuff when he is out of town and I'm missing him. Great story, Lisa. Janelle

    1. Thank you for reading, Janelle - it's weird the things that are found, and it's weirder to see what actually DOES survive in there! Lisa