Thursday, May 10, 2012

Laundry Lessons


Laundry
Laraine F. Eddington

I must have been about ten and I was supposed to be folding laundry.  There were already several batches on my bed when I brought a new basket hot from the dryer and dumped it on the pile.  

At this time I was the only girl in a big family of boys who were pretty much excused from the constant domestic chores to work outside on the ranch.  I looked at the prodigious pile of jeans, t-shirts and unmatched socks.  I carefully closed my bedroom door, found my current library book and wormed my way under the mound.  Snug as a bug in a rug I propped up on my elbows, pushed up my glasses and read… page after delicious page.

The bedroom door burst open and there stood Mikey, the youngest, not yet old enough to be an ornery tease like his older brothers. 

“Whatcha’ doing Rainy?”

“Reading.”

“Oh.”  

He turned and slammed the door behind him.

What had I done?  He was obviously a pint sized spy sent by Mom.  Now I would be in tons of trouble for not folding clothes.  My eyes filled with tears of self-pity.  My life was so unfair, chores, chores and more chores.  No sister to tell secrets to and be my ally against my stinky brothers.  I waited for my Mom to come in and say she was disappointed in me.

But she didn’t come.  She left me undisturbed for the next couple hours.  I dried my tears, folded clothes and then I read some more.

When I think about my childhood I remember moments like this; the time Mom woke me up 3 times and when I still didn’t get up, brought me avocado on toast and gave me a kiss.  The times she let me stay up late-late-late to finish just one more chapter.

She knew my childhood was a world filled with responsibility.  She knew it was good for me and that I would be grateful my whole life that I knew how to work hard, organize and be efficient.  But she also knew that I needed mercy, quick forgiveness and treats I didn’t deserve.  She knew that the sweetest tenderness is unearned.




15 comments:

RoeH said...

What wonderful parents! I could have used that mild touch when I was a rebellious teenager. My parents had "other" disciplinary action implanted into their heads. :)

Laurel said...

Loved this! I think we were both blessed with very wise mothers. Lucky you to still have your mom close enough to visit.

Pondside said...

What a wise young woman your mother was - and how wonderful that you appreciate it!

Sue said...

What a great pic of your parents!

And my mom used to give me some of those uninterrupted "naughty" reading moments, too. More than my share, I think!

;)

Holly said...

Now why do you feel the need to make me all weepy this early in the morning? What a blessing they are. I can't believe how much you look like both of your parents.

Nerita said...

hey, are you sure that was me? Aunt Gusta really brought that treat by for you.

jen said...

What a great post. I love your mom from the tender way you describe her. Ah, childhood in a rural place--there was nothing like it, was there?

Marti said...

That is so sweet. Your mother must have been a very intuitive mother.

Anna M said...

great moment. I loved it.

and avocado on toast? never tried it.

yet.

karen said...

It's funny - those are the times you remember the clearest. Like when we'd moved across the country to New Jersey and I was having a hard time adjusting to school. I was really doing poorly - not like my usual self. My mom took me out and bought me the cutest outfit for no reason at all. I'll never forget it. I can't remember other gifts for birthdays, etc. but I'll always remember that.

Amy said...

What a great tribute to a great woman!

Amanda- Hip House Girl said...

What a lovely story. I think it's interesting that this story sticks out to you- it speaks to the fact that this was a special occasion, and that most of the time she would have expected you to have the clothes folded. That fact is important, I think. Reminds me of my own parents. I so missed my mama this Mothers' Day!

Melynda said...

Lovely and very loving. I always enjoy my visits here.

Connie said...

You were so blessed to be raised by such a wise and tender woman. I look back on when my children were growing up and wish I would have had that kind of example to learn from.

Emily Widdison said...

I want a live in mom right now. I don't think I had one long enough:)
She sounds like a great mom....I need to be more like her!