Remnants of Grace

I find it very amusing that I never had my own washer and dryer until I became an empty nester. I spent years going to the laundromat with my children in tow. Carrying heavy baskets back and forth while keeping track of two children is a lot of effort. Truth be told, I enjoyed every moment of those trips.

When my husband and I first got married, our rental did not come with a washer or dryer. Every Sunday, newborn in tow, we would load the car with a stroller, baby food, car seat, playpen, and dirty laundry. After all that we would drive to his parent’s house to use their machines. This routine became something I looked forward to. I learned that in-between loads of laundry, I could cuddle my daughter without any other household interruptions. It was a sweet time; just her, me, and the laundry.

Laundry saloon

Fast forward a few years and I started doing our laundry at the laundromat. By then I had two children in tow. You should have seen us! Talk about a well-oiled machine! We each had our assigned tasks. My son would hold open the doors and then load the machines with quarters. My daughter would carry in the laundry detergent and find a couple of rolling carts to use. I was in charge of sorting out the clothes and putting them in the washer. Once the laundry was in the washing machine, it was off to the dollar store for a snack. In three hours our laundry was clean, dried, and folded. The neat thing about doing laundry this way was that it provided uninterrupted time with my children.

What I “loved” about laundry was the time I got to spend with my children. We played card games, colored, went for a walk, or just sat on the folding table talking. There was even a little made-up laundry song we would sing. Sometimes my husband would come and we all had Chinee take-out. One time we taught my daughter how to count with negative numbers by having her walk the wall of dryers and count backward. When she ran out, we introduced the concept of negative numbers. My son and I had an ongoing competition with the PacMan game that was on site. We had some good times. I will always associate doing the laundry with my having fun with my kids.

After laundry

This routine lasted for years. All too soon homework and school activities took priority from going to the laundromat with me. Even then I could always count on them waiting by the front door when I returned home. All I had to do was pop open the trunk and the baskets of clean clothes were whisked away for me. On a few occasions, I would have one of them accompany me. They may have come just for the snacks, but I was ok with that.

Now my children are on their own. When they first moved out they called a little more often. A lot of those phone calls were centered on laundry. My daughter asking if she can wash something that is dry cleaned only and asking what detergent she should buy. My son calling to ask how to get a pen mark out of his uniform and to complain about the laundromat he has to use.

My relationship with laundry is bittersweet. I love clean sheets and nicely folder towels. I just do not like the weekly reminder that the nest is empty. That is what I “hate” about laundry. Now laundry days are the same as any other day – quiet. It’s just me, my husband, and the dog. No more reading out loud or snacking on gummies bears. It is just me and some birds singing background attempting to distract me from the silence.



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