This morning before the boys headed out for Indiana I checked the washer and dryer for missed clothes. Like most college kids, they always come home with a boatload of dirty clothes. It never fails, something inevitably something gets left behind ... usually because someone is rushing to get it done last minute. In most instances Ian is the culprit which comes as no surprise because his middle name is procrastination (not to mention his brother is too anal to let it go last minute).
Yesterday Ian had three loads of wash to do. With a full day of hanging out with his friend, watching tv, surfing the net, catching up on a bit of homework, and attending YAF (otherwise known as Young Adult Fellowship, aka hanging out and goofing off), he had little time to devote to doing his laundry. Guess who was up 'til the wee hours washing, folding, and packing. Guess who went to bed at a normal time.
A lot of people think that if I were a good mom that I would do their laundry for them. True or not, I gave up that job years ago. My thinking is that I am preparing them to either (a) successfully live on their own, and/or (b) make a really good husband some day.
I stopped washing the boys clothes when their ages hit double digits. Do they always have clean clothes? No, they both usually wait until they have to resort to wearing dirty underwear or clothes that are old and ragged before tackling the job. Do they properly sort by color and wash accordingly? Not always, but more so now that they're paying for their own clothing and it suddenly matters more that the white T-shirt stay white and not become the pink T-shirt. Do they grab the clothes immediately out of the dryer and hang them up so they don't get wrinkled? Sometimes, but it usually depends on if there is another load waiting to be dried. Do they fold their clothes and put them away? One does, one doesn't. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which is which.
Sometimes it bothers me that they don't "do" laundry the way I think they should. But then I quickly remember, I don't have to do it so who cares "how" they do it as long as "they" do it .... right? I still cringe, however, when we're headed out in public and a shirt looks likes it's been slept in. It bugs the crap out of me when I can't walk into their room because of clothes laying everywhere. It drives me bonkers when I go to use the washer/dryer and can't because someone is doing a marathon of laundry. And don't get me started on how annoying it is to hear the washer running at 3 a.m. and to find the kitchen heated up at 7 a.m because the dryer's been running through the night.
But then I remember - oh yeah, I didn't have to do it, so who cares?!
I also remember how quiet it is when the last of the laundry is folded, the car is packed up, and my two hulking man-boys are headed back to school. Suddenly it's just me and the animals puttering around the house. At dinner Dale and I eat and chat about our day but there is no lively, boisterous discussions around the dinner table. Afterwards we retreat into our routine of watching the boob-tube .... without interruptions....no boy plopping on my bed making fun of my shows or suddenly wanting to talk about life.
And then I get a little sad.
I find myself missing them.
And all their laundry.
Fortunately this time around it won't be so long before I see them again. Easter break is coming up in a month, two weeks after that Dale and I will travel to Knoxville to see Sarah graduate, and then another week after that school will be out and they will be headed home for the summer.
Well one of them will, the other is taking off for a summer job in Seattle. We won't think about that right now.
For now, I'm reclaiming the washer and dryer and tackling the piles that are overflowing from our hampers. Oh boy, I can't wait! And apparently neither can this girl. It looks like she's ready to get started. It's her job to check for socks left behind and after that a little nap on the warm, vibrating dryer. Ahhhhh, what a life!