Wash, Spin, Dry, Repeat

I have a confession to make: I love doing laundry.  Love the sorting by color and by wash cycle. Love the smell of fabric softener. Love the folding and the stacking into towers.  Love the order and routine of it all.

A few weeks before my daughter’s birth, with Dreft in hand, I unpackaged and unpacked her infant onsies, sleepers, burp cloths, hooded towels, then loaded the washer and set the cycle to cottons. I meticulously folded the warm load of laundry, placed the tiny garments in her dresser and awaited her arrival.

Wash, spin, dry, repeat.  

The birth of my children set in motion a weekly meditative and contemplative process, their developmental stages reflected in the loads of clothes I washed.

Early on, outgrown baby clothes were removed from the laundry cycle and placed in the donation box.  Next size up items were added.  This cycle continued through the early teen years when swing tops, patterned tights and embroidered skirts were swapped with graphic tees, sweatshirts, and straight-legged jeans.

Wash, spin, dry, repeat.  

The passage of time was marked by pale pink ballet leotards, soccer jerseys and number 10 Patagonia shorts; marked by quilted trainer big girl underwear, “days of the week” cotton briefs and Victoria Secret lace bikinis.

Wash, spin, dry, repeat.  

In just a few months, my daughter will pack up her wardrobe and move into her freshman year dorm.  And like my son, evidence of her will be missing from my weekly laundry process.  Just the thought of this makes my heart ache.  No longer will I press out the remaining wrinkles from her favorite knit crop-top, the one she purchased at a secondhand shop and repurposed using only a pair of fabric scissors.  I will no longer fold back the arms at their seams and then perform the perfect rectangular tri-fold, the one my kids still haven’t mastered.

I think about the woman my daughter has become, and how proud I am of the cycles she has spun through.  And while I will miss the concrete intimacy of washing and drying her clothes, I think the greatest loss will be those quiet moments in the laundry room when I long to see her life reflected in the laundry I wash.

12 thoughts on “Wash, Spin, Dry, Repeat

  1. Your post was not what I expected at first- it was a nice surprise!
    I love the passage of time captured in the repetitive shore of doing the laundry. Starting with ‘a few weeks before my daughter’s birth…’
    My very favorite line is about the progression of your daughter’s underwear-
    “quilted trainer big girl underwear, “days of the week” cotton briefs and Victoria Secret lace bikinis”
    So dear! A special kind of “showing, not telling.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I never thought of loving laundry so much and the cycle of life. I’m forever changed. I have my son doing his own laundry now and my daughter is starting to help with hers…have always thought of it as a chore…but now it’s something to cherish.
    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this piece. Love how your love and reflection of your children was expressed in their kinds of laundry from before they arrived until now, leaving for college. Fav line: I will no longer fold back the arms at their seams and then perform the perfect rectangular tri-fold, the one my kids still haven’t mastered. – I love the action and detail. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This reads like a country ballad, which means the end to this story can come back full circle with you once again laundering those baby clothes, showing your son or daughter the magic you have discovered in this once ordinary chore, now turned extraordinary. Thank you for sharing. I am glad I still have laundry to do this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this beautiful post. I have to admit that laundry is not one of my favorite things… In fact, reading this made me remember I still have a load in the washer from this afternoon! Oops. Honestly though, your post was so well-written and so reflective, I may start liking laundry a bit more now. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gorgeous. Your slice reminded me our Our Town, where it says that we hardly ever stop to notice one another from day to day. Instead, you’ve taken something ordinary and turned it from mindless drudgery to mindful rumination. This week I’ll pause a little over the ever-longer pants I’m folding for my boys to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

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