There’s something I love about laundry (and Costco granola) but anyway, laundry, yes…I don’t enjoy putting it away, but the process of making the dirty clothes clean just feels right to me. As my friends and loved ones know, I am not one to clean, in fact, I hate cleaning. It is NO fun to me, and I only do it out of necessity (aka, when Chris looses it and I have to). I like things to be clean; however, the process of cleaning, is well, just awful. But laundry, I love! It’s very predictable: things go in dirty and they come out clean. Laundry is measurable and feels so productive: 10 pieces go in, 10 pieces come out. (except for those socks that always go missing) and I can get a lot done in a small amount of time.
With laundry, things go in smelly and wet and dirty and come out fresh and warm and soft. It’s just wonderful! And then there is the folding. The clothes are sorted and smoothed out and stacked and then everyone gets their clean clothes. For me, it is a very satisfying thing I do for my family. Weird, I know. Again, I am not a chore lover, but laundry makes me feel productive because it’s predictable.
If only life was like this, right? Productive and predictable, alot accomplished in a small amount of time, sorted, smoothed and stacked and done! If only, but I am in an unpredictable state these days. I have entered the workforce after 8 years at home, my days have changed and my schedule is a little unruly. Speaking of unruly, I have 3 boys that are anything but predictable or productive. They are all over the place, making noises and smells, running in the house, refusing to do homework, doing cartwheels in the living room, tracking in mud. And every day is different. Nothing is the same.
Unlike my lovely laundry, sometimes the smelly, wet, dirty things of life don’t always come out fresh, warm and soft. Sometimes they stay smelly, wet and dirty for way too long. 10 goes in and sometimes only 2 come out. Life is unpredictable and can seem unproductive. And God is teaching me to embrace it all.
I looked into Sam’s big, blue eyes today with a new perspective. He was reciting his ABC song, and for just a moment, I saw his future. I saw that how I love him, speak to him, and teach him, impacts his future. That it matters. My mom impacted my future. What she poured into me, how she served me, protected me, taught me the gospel and introduced me to Jesus, all of that was for my future: here on earth and for eternity. It mattered to her.
Today I felt a great sense of purpose looking at Sam. For a long time, I have selfishly parented thinking about myself and how frustrating it was that the smelly, wet, and dirty things weren’t getting fresh, warm and soft like my precious laundry. The smelly things of my life, the unpredictable things, were frustrating me and keeping my eyes on me. But as I stared at Sam today, I became a little more okay with the unpredictability. I became okay with just sitting and grinning while he sang the ABC song, because I knew he saw me…he saw me watching and listening…he saw my big grin…and it made his sweet heart feel fresh and warm and soft. And it mattered.
Sometimes laundry has stains, and we have to scrub a little harder or soak a little longer, or call a friend to get stain advice…so that what goes in comes out fresh and warm and soft. That’s it, that’s the productivity and predictability I am looking for in life…especially in this season of parenting…to know that these sometimes smelly, wet and dirty boys will be okay. That the world won’t get to tight of a grip on their hearts and minds and ears and eyes…that all the prayers and words and warnings and hard conversations…that all this stain fighting will work…that they will be washed white as snow by the precious blood of the Savior who my mom introduced me to…that they will meet Him too and come out of this spin cycle of a world all fresh and warm and soft.
This unpredictable life of motherhood wears me out sometimes. But it’s for their future and it matters and I get to steward that. I get to help sort and smooth their stacks and point them towards God’s good plan for them.