I’m not sure why I find that task most dread so relaxing, but I do. I don’t always get it all put away, but I do eventually get it all folded, hung, and delivered to the right general locations in the house. That makes me feel accomplished.
Twenty years ago, Todd and I came to Michigan to a small bible school to train as missionaries, and we sold most of what we owned before coming. The school has a laundry facility, but we ladies had assigned times to access the space to keep everyone’s day rolling smoothly. I had the slot just before my friend Muffy.
By the time Muffy arrived, my washers neared the end of their cycles, and I had time to watch her meticulously attack her youngest’s baseball uniform. Muffy took her laundry seriously, and we chatted while I watched her impressive skill with a brush and pre-soak. She could get stains out of anything.
I remember one day when her husband Everett dropped off their laundry early, and it sat there waiting for Muffy’s arrival. I had finished mine ahead of schedule and already had my laundry in the dryer, so I thought I’d give Muffy a hand. I carefully followed her methods and was pretty proud of myself when she arrived to find her laundry, sorted and prepared exactly as she would have done it. She taught me a lot.
Her face showed the shock, and I told her not to worry, that I had done it exactly the way I had seen her do it. She simply said, “I wish you hadn’t.” She wasn’t rude, just matter of fact, and I knew never to touch Muffy’s laundry again.
All these years later, as I do my little grandson’s laundry, I realize what I took from Muffy that day. You see, laundry marks growth in our children’s lives. That’s where a mama sees the dings and injuries of her children’s lives as she removes the stains incurred as life knocks them around a bit. She watches as brand new clothes come in for the first time and all too quickly make their way to the donation pile, outgrown by the rapidly expanding waistlines and leg lengths.
Now I know the most important lesson I learned came from her son Tom’s baseball pants, almost always caked with mud and grass stains. That mama was telling her Tom, “Play hard, Son. The one who loves you will handle the stains.”
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch