Going to the laundry by myself can be a little stressful depending upon whom I might encounter. Most of the time I am lucky to be surrounded by individuals who are seasoned professionals in the world of taking care of laundry outside one's home. However, there are amateur washers who have not developed a system for the courtesies associated with the social expectations of sharing washers and dryers. Those are the times when I leave with an enormous headache and become overwhelmed with exhaustion. Those are the times I pray for a few moments to myself before picking up the children from school. If I have even a half hour to fling myself onto the bed or flop onto the sofa, then everyone benefits and mommy doesn't have to threaten everyone with, "Do ya want to see Jesus tonight?" So imagine my concerns when I ended up taking all three of my children to do the wash yesterday afternoon/early evening.
I decided to eliminate most of my mommy expectations prior to arriving at our favorite laundry spot. I prepared myself for the onset of requests for drinks and snacks by making a trip to the dollar store ahead of time. Then I released my children to find whatever form of amusement possible amidst the sounds of clothes and soap sloshing around in the machines. I busied myself with ministering to the washers as they worked to release the lovely aromas and filth that magically accumulate on my family's garments. Doesn't help that my husband's chef jackets and pants are encrusted with whatever daily menu he has transformed for his residents at the retirement community. Doesn't help that my children are active little buggers who are magnetically drawn to dirt and permanent markers.
In the process of letting go of my expectations, I ended up allowing my children to experience some fun that I might not otherwise allow. They played outside. They had fun with the balloons their sister brought home from Middle School. (I absolutely do not like balloons for safety reasons and have taken way too many classes that scared the heck out of me, thus ruining one of the joys of childhood for my children.) My daughter showed her brothers how to fill the balloons with water and smash them on the sidewalk. (I made them clean up the pieces.) My children found ways to apply dirt smudges to their faces...where on earth did they find so much filth? They played fairly well with each other, which in itself is a miracle.
I experienced my own interesting drama when one of the washers (not mine) began to smoke. Funny that the attendant didn't think to call the Fire Department. A man helped the attended pull the washer away from the wall and unplugged it after consulting with the laundry mat owner by phone. Meanwhile, I told my children to stay outside the building and meet me by the van in case I had to escape through the back exit. I was able to finish folding our clothes after seeing that the crisis had passed. But seriously, why was nobody else looking around for an alternate exit? Amateurs! Anyway, that was my Friday Night fun. Not the same as when I lived on my own and met the girls after work for a Strawberry Margarita at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Germany.
On the way home, we got stuck in a sudden burst of hail, thunder, and lightening. Too much excitement for a Friday, don't you think? We managed to get home in one piece, laundry done, faces smudged by dirt from an unknown source, and thoroughly soaked from our trek from the van to the apartment. Guess what? The kids loved it! I'm sure we'll add this Friday night to our treasury of family stories. Today is Saturday. Our home is full. My Middle School child has friends here for a sleepover and the sounds of laughter as they make water balloons to crash down the park slide echo through our small apartment. My son and I are watching the Lego Movie together. The six year old went skating with a friend and will be back soon. Life is good...even if I was stressed out a few hours ago as we tried to get the house cleaned up, snacks prepared, and everyone dressed to run errands early this morning. It all eventually worked out. Or as my grandmother always says, "It all comes out in the wash."
Hope you have a wonderful, long weekend. Let's remember all the brave military service members and their families who work to keep us safe and free. Happy Memorial Day!
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