Laundry Duty

Laundry has always seemed an uphill battle. As soon as the washing machines shut off and the dryers finish their cycle, more dirty clothes inexplicably appear out of thin air. Of course, no one seems to know who dirtied their clothes. Almost as if little people paw into the children’s drawers and pranced outside in them during the night.

A never ending battle

And so, earlier this year, Wife found herself walking the well-used path into the laundry room, with a basket filled to the gills. After setting the basket on a dryer, she realized that the washing machines were full and in the middle of a wash.

Had the little people returned and began cleaning up after themselves?

Well, the mystery of the self-loading-washers needed an answer. Wife, as the mother she is, leaned out into the hallway and shouted out, asking who loaded the washers.

Like birds taking wing from the underbrush, the children in earshot began to relay the question around the house. A series of, “Not Me”s, squawked back down the hall.

Then #1 popped her head around the corner, body coiled with worry. “I did, Mom,” she said. “Was that okay?”

Wife assured her that it was, and only wanted to know what was loaded and what soap she used. #1 told her mother, her tension melting away. She had done everything correct. As Wife went on to thank #1 for her unasked-for-help and initiative, our girl glowed a little.

When Wife was left alone with her washers and dryers, she puffed with peacock pride, and a little trepidation. The little girl was taking care of her own laundry, on her own time. She performed her work with confidence, not even asking before she started. What was next?

Like a chick feathering, she was suddenly and irreversibly growing up.

Wife told me all about it that evening, still puffed with pride, and I said, “Oh dear me. We have a little woman on our hands.”

There are so many facets to a little girl. Wife has an idea of what to expect, but how could I anticipate her in her growing maturity? I’ve never been a girl.

So I won’t anticipate. I will simply give her guidance as she grows. In short, I’ll just be her dad.

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