While folding laundry, I thought of all the time I’ve spent over the years washing, drying, folding and putting away clothes.
Such routine and endless drudgery.
The whites, the darks, the colors, the hand washables, the line-dry — it’s enough to make a sane girl crazy.
And then there’s all that laundry on the floor of my kids’ rooms.
Who knows what is clean and what is dirty?
They assure me they know.
(I should add here that my nest is temporarily full and I couldn’t be happier about that, even with their laundry on their bedroom floors.)
I love empty clothes hampers and all the drawers in the house filled with freshly laundered clothing.
When that coincides with a clean house, I feel blissful and serene.
My brain relaxes because my “to-do” list is free of so much of what clogs it up sometimes.
My body enjoys the same benefits as a deep cleansing breath like pockets of stale air awakened then exhaled.
There is nothing as heavenly or as fleeting as having my domestic life in perfect order.
No dishes in the sink, the dishwasher empty, shoes put away in closets.
Those brief moments bring such satisfaction.
Doug experiences this fleeting enjoyment after he mows the lawn.
But just like a cereal bowl gets placed in the clean sink, each grass blade starts pushing itself higher and higher the minute he puts the mower away.
I want to stretch out the perfect moments in life because they bring on such a lovely smugness that makes me feel like there is restful order in all my chaos.
Our spring-like weather over the last few days has been so heavenly that I wish it would be permanent.
I want more days on the deck with the warm sun on my face as I water my flowers and see them lift up their vibrant heads.
But I know the heat and humidity are coming, and that watering my flowers will be a chore instead of a pleasure, and that the flowers will need to be nurtured carefully along with more regularity or they will wither away and die.
These life cycles remind me that the pauses in all my activity are earned, and that is why I enjoy them so completely.
None of them come without work and effort.
It’s like the perfect moments of family life — the laughing and sacred times of togetherness that fill the air with such strong love and appreciation for each other.
They are like much-anticipated birthday gifts that we can’t wait to open. There is wild excitement at the new, coveted items, but once unwrapped and used, they quickly become part of our accumulated “stuff” and lose their specialness.
I guess the lesson is to savor the moments.
I think of Doug’s dad and one of his nightly rituals.
He goes to bed with a delectable piece of chocolate in his mouth and lets it slowly melt and coat his throat before he falls asleep.
And as he savors the flavor of a good piece of milk chocolate, he looks forward to the next night, when at the end of another day, he gets to savor it all over again.
If I could stretch out all the perfect moments, they probably wouldn’t be so sublime.
They would be ordinary and wouldn’t mean nearly as much.
The folded laundry, the empty kitchen sink, the mowed lawn, and the melting chocolate are the little moments that make life big.
Next time I finish the laundry and feel that passing self-satisfaction, I’m going to remember that.
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