I stand in the basement surrounded by hampers. I sort. I stain treat. I add vinegar to the diaper load. I am thankful for the laundry.
I am thankful for the diapers and the two boys who wear them. One still nurses round the clock and fills my day with chubby squeals. The other is trying to make the change to Spiderman underwear. My diaper load is shrinking, but my ‘slightly damp underwear’ pile grows.
I am thankful for the towels. They’re used for many baths and showers, for swim class twice a week, for cleaning up the water that gets all over the bathroom floor when the big kids try to help. There’s no room for the heaps of towels we’d need to make it through the week, so I wash and I dry and I fold.
I am thankful for the stains. Blueberry, Mulberry, Watemelon. Chocolate Ice Cream, Grass, Mud. They’re proof of an Indiana summer well-lived. And so I treat them, instead of preventing them.
I am thankful for the permanent press load. Button down shirts, dress pants and socks get washed separately. Early on, I learned a hard lesson while mixing my husband’s work clothes with my children’s play clothes. It involved a pocket full of crayon fragments and a new wardrobe for the man who works all day so that I can stay home with our children. Now, I carefully check the kids’ pockets, but I still wash their father’s clothes separately, just in case I miss something.
I am thankful for the quiet cool of a basement on a hot day, for electricity restored after a raging storm, for appliances that work and for children who play.
I hate doing laundry, but I am thankful that I have laundry to do. The alternative, a life where laundry is three loads once a week and occasional trips to the dry-cleaners, a sterile life without spit-up or mysterious juice spills, is too horrible to contemplate.
I am thankful for my laundry.