Tuesday, August 24, 2004

better & the Laundry Epiphany

Over the past few days I have had several real-world conversations and a few emails that have been very encouraging.

I've been diving heavily into the blogosphere recently. I may never have to buy a book or print magazine again. Eventually I'll put together a links section here... if I ever do anything productive again. That should be a laugh line ("heh") but it's not. *sigh*

DS2 had his pre-school "orientation" this morning and is eager to start school. I'm not sure, but I think my heart is going to explode. Or implode. Or something... it's overwhelming. At 3, he seems so much more mature and self-possessed than his older brother and sister were. And for all that he steadfastly insists that he's "NOT A BABY!", it wasn't that long ago that he was a baby. And now he's starting school, and he's my youngest, and it's a Big Thing, you know?

When I first had my kids, I was so focussed on surviving their infancies and toddlerhoods that I didn't give much thought at all to what it would be like to have school-age children. Somehow my brain elided over the years 3-13, because I thought more about what it would be like to have teenagers than I did about elementary schoolers. I have no idea whether or not that's common, but it wouldn't surprise me: the bulk of parenting books cover new parent information, and then there's basically nothing till you get "help for your troublesome teen" titles. I love my kids' preschool, but it was completely serendipitous that I even heard about it, because a friend of friend had a kid going there. At least when it came time for DS1 to start K, I knew what I had to do and set about visiting all the local schools, etc. But the whole school issue kind of snuck up on me, the complete package deal of getting kids up, dressed, and out the door, and picking them up later, seeing to homework, making sure they have all the supplies they need, etc. It's a lot of work that just never occurred to me.

Then again, most of life is a lot of work that never occurred to me. I will always remember what I call my Laundry Epiphany. I was living in my house in South Natick and carrying laundry upstairs from the basement, so this was probably 11 years ago or so. The basket was full of clean dry clothes, only one load's worth but enough of a pain, since I still had to fold it and put it away. For some reason, the thought popped into my head that I'm going to be doing laundry until the day I die: I have no expectation of anyone ever taking over the laundry for me. As the kids get older, they can help out with the chores, certainly, and maybe they will do the occasional load of laundry... but then they'll move out. DH would do laundry if I asked him, but it's not that big a deal. It wasn't even that big a deal when I first realized this. It wasn't like, "Oh, no! I'm going to be doing laundry forever!" It was more like, "Hey, this is life, deal with it."

I had spent so many years in a fog that it was an interesting concept: laundry is one of those things you can't get away from, just as you can't get away from food (shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning up). They're required for life, and that's OK. I don't even know if other people spend much time thinking about this kind of thing, but I do. I have to, otherwise I end up resenting the time I spend living (that is, doing laundry, cooking, etc) because it takes away from the time I spend in my head, reading, writing, or whatever. Resentment like that is baseless... I have to just let it go, and get on with the business of Life.

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