Two weeks is a long time to go without doing laundry in our house. Because our European machines are so small and take a few hours for each load, I only dare let it go for that long when I am sick, very sick. And I had been sick. I still wasn’t healthy when I finally made my way down the two flights of stairs to our basement laundry room, but then I am no lily-livered man, am I? I had my iPhone 3, which is little more than a glorified iPod these days, and my new Flip 2, portable speaker (christmas present), and let Meagan Trainer fill the room with rhythm and a list of expectations of her future husband. Pretty ironic as I was sorting dirty underwear into light and dark piles. Good luck with that, Meagan! After a while of sorting, spraying, scrubbing, bopping, singing, shaking, taking bows and blowing kisses to my fans, my phone rang.
“Mom, where are you?”
“Charis, can you hear me?”
bad connection, so I opened the basement door and leaned my head outside for better reception, and yelled into the phone, “Hello, Charis? can you hear me now?”
“Mom!! There you are!” my middle child yells at me from the other side of the garden gate.
“Where have you been?” she hurdles at me with the indignity of someone who has just been ditched at the alter.
She had forgotten her keys and had been left out in the cold for several(!) minutes, while I was having the time of my life spray-n-washing collars and treating blood-stains.
My hot headed daughter, who in this respect has really cashed in on my family’s DNA, was still venting, blaming, fuming when I went upstairs to let her in. As I reached the door, I had had enough, and sent off some fumes of my own.
With her hot potato successfully shoved over onto my mood, I returned to the enchanting world of dirty textiles and detergent. By the time my second daughter was home, and I reappeared from the dungeon, I had sprouted several additional hot spuds of my own, which I proceeded to mete out to anyone in my path, all the while demanding an apology from my first daughter.
Later, when the three of us were eating at the dining room table, I was lost in thought regarding a long distance conversation I have been having with someone about my own foster-mother. Something I have been thinking a lot about over the last several weeks, trying, again, to understand what the fundamental dysfunction was/is of our relationship, of our whole family actually. Why was I so miserable living in that house? What was it that suffocated the love and kept us all so isolated and distant from each other? Why does it feel so lonely to be with them, even lonelier than being alone?
And as if I knew I had needed to latch on to something grounding, before I drifted too far off from the docks, I absentmindedly asked out loud,
“I’m a good mother, aren’t I?”
My two beautiful teenage daughters, looking goddess like in their long hair and perfect features, with their amiable manner, their caring, tender hearts, didn’t miss a beat, and belted out in chorus,
“Not today, you’re not!”
Then we all burst into laughter, bellied over and grabbing our sides.
The evil spell was broken.
And they all lived happily ever after.