The Thing About Laundry

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The other night, I reluctantly tackled the monotonous and never-ending chore of pulling my boys’ clean laundry out of the basket and putting it away in their drawers. They were sleeping at their dad’s house, so I was doing this dreadful task at close to midnight on a Friday, when I would have preferred to be cuddled up watching TV or under the covers. Or doing pretty much anything else.

Three boys generate mounds of laundry. Muddy, sweaty, torn laundry. Further compounding the task is that I pass clothing down from biggest to smallest as it’s outgrown, until it’s impossible to keep straight. It takes brain power to remember who’s wearing what, and to evaluate whether or not sweatpants with a ripped knee have reached the point of socially unacceptable.

Every day, I resolve to take steps to make the laundry sorting easier. I swear that I’ll colour code the socks so that each boy consistently wears one colour; that I’ll assign each boy a towel that they must use religiously for several days running; that I’ll undertake the hassle of training them to put their own laundry away consistently.   But inevitably, it’s laundry Groundhog Day with piles that seem to grow.

I’m not a sentimental woman. I’m allergic to syrupy Facebook platitudes and gratitude lists.  But that night as I stood there with a mud-stained hoody in hand, it occurred to me how fortunate I am to have three happy and active boys who wreck their clothing at play. I’m fortunate to have laundry machines to do their mounds of laundry; fortunate to have dressers to contain their laundry; fortunate to have comfortable and safe shelter in one of the wealthiest and safest nations in the world.

And just like that, now I feel grateful that I have the privilege of putting away the laundry.