Here's the best picture of my life. New Years Eve, I am nodding off, falling asleep at 10:00 PM. I haven’t had a New Years kiss at midnight since I turned forty. So, I love to go to bed early, get up early and run fast all day. That’s why last night was such a sheer enigma. I was up until 2:30 AM. Was I partying? No. Was I writing my book? No. Was I doing laundry? Sadly, yes! But, it was the way I was doing laundry that makes this worthy of journaling.
Clayton, being in high school, doesn’t find it strange to start his laundry at 11:00 PM. So, in that hazy stage between wakefulness and sweet slumber, I overheard the washing machine. It wasn’t long before I heard banging. “Oh, no.” I moaned. I knew exactly what was going on. My washing machine is on the blink and it takes a perfectly executed “bang” on the lid to make it go to the next cycle. Clayton wasn't banging in the right place! I dragged myself out of bed to lend a hand (literally!). But, my banging was no longer effective.
There we were at midnight, banging on every part of the lid as we turned knobs, plugged and unplugged and after half an hour of trying we began pulling out the soaked shirts (which were floating in the basin) and began rinsing and ringing them by hand. At this point, Phil made his way in. It was now 1:00 AM. After telling him there was no way banging was going to work any more, he lowered the lid, gave one firm fisted encouragement, and the little whirlpool whirled! Relieved, yet, ticked off, we all went for the laundry room door.
The males in bed, I got up one final time to check on the clothes, and it wasn’t cycling again. I banged, spoke some choice words (that were not in the New Testament), prayed (for forgiveness, of course), and banged til my fist turned blue. It worked. But only for ten minutes at a time. So, there I stood at 2:00 AM, vigilant before the machine. Waiting to hear the click to signal a cycle. I'd listen, bang, and then sit back down on the cold tile floor in front of the washer. This went on until almost 3:00 AM until the clothes were nestled in the dryer.
My commitment to Clay's clothes was because he needed to wear them to work the next day. Yes, he was to wear them to the job that called him the next morning and told him they didn’t need him to come in that day after all! Oh my gosh!
I zombied around the next day, and managed just enough alertness to call the washing machine repair man. As I told him my quandary, all he said was “Ma’m, you really shouldn’t bang on your appliances.” I was much too tired to tell him what I really wanted to bang on at that moment as again, it would require another prayer of forgiveness, so I kept my thoughts to myself. Would he really understand that this is what Moms do? Did he know that his Mom probably performed some similar heroic for him when he was a teenager? I doubt it.
There are few people I will engage in hand to hand combat with a washing machine for, stand vigilant on a cold tile floor for, hand rinse and ring out shirts for, and stay up until 3:00 AM just so they will have clothes to wear to the job that won't need them to come in!! Clayton is one of those people. He’s only going to be home another year, and I will miss laundry in the middle of the night when he’s gone, Oh, I will miss him. I applaud the moms out there who are the midnight warriors, the pre-dawn prayers, and the late afternoon listeners. Keep up the good work! Someday, your child may grow up to be a washing machine repair man who will tell a very tired woman, “Only great Moms bang on washers in the middle of the night…thanks!”