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?”
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.