Folding Laundry

Medium shirt, size 7-8. Two long creases, folding the arms across, then fold in half...

The problem with laundry is it is never ending. I could work all day, washing, drying, folding and someone still thinks they need to change. Day clothes into pajamas. Pajamas into day clothes. For the love of feeling accomplished, can we just all stay in the same clothes for a few days? My suggestion was met with giggles and grins like I was kidding. This mundane task of motherhood marks hours of unpaid labor.

Size 5T jeans. Fold in half at the zipper, fold in half at the knees....

The knees are starting to wear. Didn’t I just buy these a few weeks ago? There will be holes soon, but that’s how they are wearing them these days, anyway. Sometimes it wears on my heart too; these sizes going up. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was folding onesies stained with spit up? And socks…So many socks that all look the same. Everyone has their personal favorites. I finally have resolved to throw them in a pile and let everyone take the ones that belong to them. Those socked-feet don’t dance crazy on the kitchen floor as often as they once did. We used to turn up the music, grab big spoons, singing and dancing, laughter filling up the room.

Juniors XS shirt. This shirt is complicated; in structure and fabric. I fold it differently every time...

When did this happen? The sparkles and unicorns traded for all these complexities. Emotions and thoughts that don’t necessarily line up, hormones and teenage hunger for acceptance. Does she even remember arguing with me over the pink tutu skirt and rain boots she wanted to wear to church every week? Can we please argue about the tutu! What I would give to just hold that Easter dress, size 4T in my hands once more, hold it up against her. It has been years gone to Goodwill. Now children think they are too old for such shenanigans or good-humored jokes, and are met with eye rolls, and with eyelashes painted with mascara and clothes changed a couple times to find just the right look. Now she says she is just too old…

Shoes, size 13, 1, 3 and 4. All lined up by the door...

It’s like they are just waiting to leave. Those that slid their feet into these shoes will kiss my cheek, tell me not to worry. There will be an imprint on the floor where the shoes used to lie, like the imprint left on my heart. Will they remember where those shoe-bound feet took them, all the adventures that we went on? Parks and mommy-dates, school concerts, and vacations. They will walk to new destinations and I will watch, cheering them on. I will always remember their first steps, shaky and unsure. 

Piles of folded laundry, separated by the child they belong to. Shirts, pants, pajamas…

My living room is covered in a blanket of folded laundry, smelling of lavender, clean and fresh. Someday this laundry will dwindle down for two people instead of six. My hands will not be as busy, the house not as loud. The tiny pants and leggings that littered my laundry room. The favorite dress she wore for her first cello concert or the new matching feety pajamas they opened every Christmas Eve. All those family outfits for pictures through the years. That laundry will be folded and put away, but those memories will remain folded into the fabric of my heart forever.


Emily Reicherts is a stay-at-home mom of four kids, with her husband and two dogs, living in Eastern Iowa. She is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University. She hopes to teach others the joy of words through writing their own narratives and finding their own stories. In her free time, she enjoys painting, crocheting, spending time in nature, and the learning that comes in abundance when you see that children can teach you so much about life and love and letting go.

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