There is Always Laundry

It’s the first full day of summer. I’m sitting alone listening to the rain quietly patter the roof and the windows in the kitchen. Sipping hot coffee in the dim light. Poppy is snoring. David is in the shower and the kids are all still asleep.

We don’t have any plans today but Ella is sick so that kind of limits things. They will probably watch movies all day. But they did that yesterday. And the day before. Summertime colds are the worst…

My mind is pregnant with ideas…things I should do…things I need to do…things that would be fun to do…but I feel a very distinct lack of direction. And a very distinct sense that the sand is pouring through the hourglass at an alarmingly fast pace. Only two summers left until Kate leaves…and then William. And then Henry. Poor Ella will be suffocated with my love and affection when she hits high school (which is coincidentally just about the time she’ll start rolling her eyes at me with a fervor that only a teenager can master.)


The rain is coming in more steadily now. I think I’ll sit and listen to it for a while and fold a load of laundry. No matter what, there is always laundry, isn’t there?

Every day is a gift…make it count.

There is Always Laundry

I want more time.

I can remember sitting in the sand, the wind whipping my face as I watched the kids play in the surf without a care in the world.  I sat there on that beautiful day, in that beautiful place, trying to pretend that it was the sunscreen that was making my eyes tear.

I knew I was standing at a crossroads back then.

Back then, I felt a choice was being forced upon me.  But as time passed, I began to see that really, I held all the cards.  I could do whatever I wanted.

I spent the next six months trying to figure out what I wanted…and trying to keep my head above water with work, and four kids, broken bones, football seasons and basketball tournaments, meals to cook, homework, riding lessons and a house to clean.  I tried to make everything work, when I knew that really, that was never going to happen.

The TV people ask “What was your favorite memory of 2013?”  Or “What was your biggest accomplishment of the last year?”  And I think to myself…”I’ve got nothing. Nothing to tell.”  It was just another year in which I failed to be the person I really want to be.

I look back on the last year and wonder how to describe it…how to describe my life for the last three hundred and sixty five days.  How does one measure a year of their life?

Do I measure it in dollars earned?

Do I measure it in voyages taken?

Weight lost, or miles walked or the fifty dozen cookies I baked?

Maybe the number of times I lost my temper.  Or cursed (a lot).  Or prayed for forgiveness or to be a better wife or to be a better mother or to please God show me the way to do this (a lot).  The number of times I cried…or worried…  The number of times I smiled.

I could measure it by the number of championships won, or the number of seasons without a single win at all.  The number of hair ribbons clipped, or pony tails styled. The number of beats my heart leapt as hooves pounded by me carrying my baby girl, while I am left standing on the side, dust swirling around me in their wake.

Surely I could count meals prepared, or the number of nights that I fed them cereal for supper.  Or the number of hands held, freckles kissed, hugs given, I love yous poured forth…  The number of algebra problems solved.  Pictures taken, love notes written, gifts wrapped.  Miles driven.  Flowers planted.  Paws wiped.  Laundry folded.  Lunches made each morning, alone in the quiet, softly-lit kitchen.

The number of books read, or games played.  Or the number of times I said no, and instantly regretted it.  Again.  The number of times I heard “You’re the best mom in the world.”  Or the number of times I was not at all.

The number of punishments doled out.  The number of times I caught someone picking their nose…  Number of trips to the orthodontist, the orthopedist, the audiologist, the pediatrician.

The number of trips to Target.

Is there really a way to quantify my life?  To measure it with any accuracy?  I don’t know.  I know that last year didn’t feel all that good, though.  I have never believed myself capable of doing it all and doing it all well.  I just don’t have that kind of energy or capacity to perform at a high level for any extended period of time without there being some consequences (which are usually that I am terribly grumpy).

I sit here watching the snow which has been falling for about 8 hours now.  School has been cancelled for tomorrow.  But I have work to do.  And I know how I want this new year to be different.

I want more time.

This year, I want more time with them.  Time to read together…play games together…time to braid hair.

There will be time for more dates with him.

More time for walks in the snow, and picnics and trips to the pool.  More time for games of knockout, or horse or 1 on 1.

More time to make lemonade – the real kind.  And cocoa.  And cookies.

I want more time for barbecues.  More time to eat popsicles and drink margaritas.

I want to more time to sip wine on Sunday evenings like we used to do.

I want time to let the curls of steam from my coffee rise around my face every morning.

I want to time feel the sun on my shoulders each day, and gaze at the stars at night.

I want time to pick wildflowers.  Time for more waggily tails and games of catch. Time for fires in the fire pit…more roasted marshmallows.

I want more time.  More time for smiles, for talks, for sitting with fingers entwined, for dreams to be shared.  More time for simple things — the things that matter to me — so that when I look back on this year, I will say it was the best year of my life.

Even if it can’t really be measured.

I want more time.


I am sitting here in the kitchen this afternoon.  Ella has a little friend over here and she is giving her the grand tour…I can hear her up there…this is Kate’s room, and this is the boys’ room.  And I hear her little friend say “Holy Moly that is a mess!”  I wince a little.

The boys’ room is generally very neat.  William insists upon that.  He cannot stand clutter.  But this morning we were in a race to get out the door.  Too much basketball…we had practice last night and didn’t return until after 8:00.  We finally ate, showered and got into bed by 9:30, but that amount of running around just exhausted them all, and they slept late this morning.  I let them.  So there was no time to make the bed, or pick up the clothes, or fold their clean laundry and there it sits in their room.  It does look a mess, I suppose.

This morning Kate informed me that she simply cannot use her bathroom because there are a million tiny bugs in there everywhere.  So I went to look.  Yes, there were bugs.  It looks like someone opened the window in there yesterday and didn’t close it properly and those teeny tiny flying things got in.  I sprayed them and told her I would clean that bathroom up today before her friends came over.  Which I did.

Then as I was checking her ipod for texts, I was horrified to read that she told her friends that her bathroom was infested with bugs and that if they needed to go to the bathroom while they were here that they could not use that one!  Oh the horror.

So clearly I am not earning high marks in keeping a clean house.

The weather is gray today.  It is mild…75 degrees…and I have arranged for William to have rides to and from practice tonight.  I don’t have anywhere to go.  That doesn’t happen very often.  I think I am going to work outside a little if the rain holds off.  I have some basil to plant, and I need to pot up my tomato and marigold seedlings.  There are pots on the deck that cracked over the winter, and I need to clean those up.  We bought some hollies on Mother’s Day that need to be planted as well, which is probably more than I can handle today.

Funny story about the hollies (unless you’re me).  David drove my car home from the greenhouse with the lift gate up because we had the holly trees in the back.  I was a few minutes behind him because I needed to wait for someone to load the dirt into my car.  So when I get home, he comes running out of the driveway to stop me from pulling in and I see millions of shards of glass all over the driveway, because he backed into the basketball rim and destroyed my car, or at least the back window.  So, he spent the next two hours vacuuming that up while I pouted in my room.  When I emerged, he tried to cheer me by informing me that he went to the store to get industrial strength trash bags to tape on the back for when I’m driving around.  His solution, however resourceful it may have been, did not leave me feeling enthusiastic, or thankful, or cheery or anything other than wow.  And not wow in a good way.  More like, wow, I can’t believe I’m going to have to drive around in a car held together with trash bags and duct tape.  But, because it was mother’s day and I was trying to pretend I am a good mother, I got a beer and went outside to look at my flowers and not snap at anyone.

This all reminds me of the (numerous) time(s) I said that the basketball hoop was too low when set on 6 feet, and how I was afraid I was going to hit it and how we really should raise it up, and how someone who shall remain nameless scoffed at all that.  Isn’t that interesting?  Right.

For this weekend we have another 10 games, at least.  After the last game on Sunday, I hope we can cook out.  We will have to use the Weber, because our fancy gas grill has disintegrated and we haven’t ordered the new parts yet.  And maybe we won’t.  I think the Weber might be better anyway…I miss the charcoal.  I miss the smell, and the flames, and watching the coals turn from black to red to gray.  I miss the time it takes to cook.  We hurry everything along these days because we try to get so much accomplished in so little time.  We forget that there is importance in taking it easy and enjoying time spent together, doing nothing at all.  We can watch Poppy run around in the backyard, sip a glass of wine, and dream about all of the landscaping that we’re going to do, someday.  

I don’t know if I could plan a better weekend.