I ironed one of Kate’s shirts today. (Something I never do.)
I was folding her laundry (something I still do; she washes and I fold) and noticed it was a little wrinkly. I knew she wouldn’t mind the wrinkles, but suddenly ironing that shirt seemed like a tiny treasure to the mom in me.
Kate turns eleven on Saturday.
I remember washing all her baby clothes before she was born, folding them neatly on the bump she made out of my belly, and organizing them in the purple dresser I painted for her nursery.
I remember after she was born, gently pulling her tiny arms through the little arm holes of the softest outfits I could find, and washing all her clothes separately from ours because they seemed too pure and special to mix with our cynical adult clothing.
I remember needing to change her outfits multiple times a day when she was teething, drooling, battling reflux, and learning how to eat solid foods. Oh, how the little laundry piled up! And oh how I loved washing and folding her clothes and neatly arranging them in her purple dresser.
When I went back to work after my maternity leave my mother-in-law, “Grandma Pam,” was truly a godsend. She did everything she could to help make the transition easier on all of us, including coming to our home one day each week (even though we lived an hour away) to care for Kate and reduce her daycare schedule, getting a cell phone and learning how to text so she could update me throughout my work day, bringing food, cleaning our home, and doing our laundry. She made our lives so much easier in those early years (and still does). I’m forever grateful for her loving presence, and for her showing me the kind of grandma I hope to one day be if Kate chooses to have children.
A memory from those earlier days bubbled up this morning while I was ironing Kate’s shirt.
My memory of the first time I came home from work and saw Kate’s little laundry already done – all freshly washed and neatly folded while I was at work.
I knew I should’ve felt grateful, happy, and relieved that Grandma Pam had completed this task for me. It was one less thing I had to do! It was the gift of more time I could spend snuggling with my daughter, or getting some sleep! The logical part of my brain said there should be a chorus of angels singing “Hallelujah” in my mind right now and I should be bowing down at my amazing mother-in-law’s feet…but something inside me felt so sad I had missed out on that load of baby laundry.
I never told Pam this (and I’m embarrassed to confess it now), but after that, I started doing Kate’s laundry before Grandma Pam days.
I don’t particularly like doing laundry, but washing and folding Kate’s baby clothes was something I truly savored. Matching up her little socks, running my fingers along a ruffle, bringing a freshly washed sleeper up to my nose to give it a deep smell and then holding it to my heart to infuse it with love I hoped she’d feel the next time she wore it…
When I think of a word to describe how I feel being Kate’s mom it’s “savor” – and oh how I savored her little laundry.
As time went by, I loosened up on my laundry obsession and allowed others to get in on that action. Truth be told, I rarely do laundry now. Kate’s in charge of her own laundry (she sorts, washes, and puts her clothes away – I still fold, otherwise they’d all go into the purple dresser wrinkly) and G usually does all the rest.
I don’t particularly like doing laundry.
I do particularly love being Kate’s mom.
I savor it.
Happy 11th birthday, baby girl.