There are many things you can ignore as a housewife.
I’ve gotten quite good at it actually.
I can overlook the bedroom, bathrooms, mixed up drawers and desks and mounds of paperwork. I let the boy’s bedroom go messy many a day and oftentimes don’t have them make their beds, let alone wash their sheets enough. I let the carpets go far too long, the tile grubby. The grout even worse.
But, there’s this one thing I can’t let go for long. It peers at me from my closet where I keep the baskets. Their smells are most unpleasant as I see jelly smeared on the fronts of shirts; dirt-smudged knees from kneeling too long in sandboxes and ground in mud on socks that I thought certain were once white.
Many days I feel I hang out more with Graham’s clothes than I do his person.
But, truly I don’t mind starting it.
I don’t mind dragging the heavy baskets this way and that way to the machine—I’m so thankful to have one to do the REALLY hard work!
I don’t mind sorting and finding treasures in pockets and adding detergent. The kids love throwing the clothes all over the house, pushing the buttons and watching it all spin clean.
It’s amazing to me, like a magic show when it’s all done, wet and ready to dry. And CLEAN! I can never believe it, feeling certain Graham’s jeans full of horse manure, sheet-rock dust and other things could actually vanish. Around no longer.
For now anyway.
In nice weather I hang out our clothes—not minding that either, although a bit tricky to do with 3 little kids yanking and pulling on me, the clothes, clothespins.
But we manage.
And there’s always such a feeling of accomplishment seeing it hanging there, the sun and warmth doing its job better and sometimes faster than the dryer.
I pull it all in at the end of the day and start folding. Fallon hands me piece after piece, waiting patiently for me to get it done before handing me the next one.
It looks kind of nice all tucked in the basket—washed, dried, folded.
There’s just one more step left.
But this last leg in the race gets me EVERY time. And I don’t know why.
I’ve come so far with this load. Why can’t I just get it done?
Yet there it sits, sometimes for days as I can’t seem to bring myself to finish the job and put the clothes in their proper drawers.
I fish through the basket as time ticks on. The boys pull out what I tell them to. Graham digs out socks and shirts for work.
If only I could get it put away. If only I liked this part of the process.
How do I let myself come so close only to fizzle out around the last lap? How is it that I start well, but can’t seem to end?
Perhaps ‘The Laundry Situation’ isn’t the only thing I let sputter out.
Perhaps doing what I should with God, with Graham, with my kids, starts out well intentioned. Even strong.
But, I’m still human. And I still come up short. Overwhelmed. Crushed. Defeated.
My marriage to a brain injured husband is frustrating at times as we work through continued memory loss, limitations with his vision, arm and other things.
My kids, the perfect picture I imagine in my head become far from it when out in public. The hard work I thought I accomplished flushed down a dirty and sometimes-clogged toilet—we have Keith to thank for that.
So, as I lug the basket up the stairs and back down, all I can do some days is pray. For wisdom. Love. Endurance. But mostly, wisdom.
And I realize something.
I’m only here for a little while.
And whether I acknowledge it or not, I am being used daily. The jelly is so thick and sticky, mud caked all over me. I find myself being sorted and thrown into the wash. I’m cleaned and dried and folded. It’s truly magical at how clean He gets me.
But unlike me with my cotton and polyester fabrics, folded and waiting to be put away, He carefully puts me back where I belong. He knows just how to finish something. He’s great at getting me ready for that next grass stain. That next pile of whatever it is I’ll fall into.
And He’s quite okay that I don’t have it all down perfect yet.