Sunday, July 13, 2008

Profound Piles of Laundry

I have a special relationship with laundry. I actually LIKE to do it. I love to be able to sit down with a big pile of clean clothes and neatly fold them into their respective piles as I listen to some good music, watch TV or even listen to the scriptures being read online. As I've grown older, I have realized that it is the number of piles that has become profound to me, as they have marked both the joyous and tragic occasions of my life.



When I married my first love, Rob, twenty-years ago, I only had two piles - his and mine. Soon thereafter, our first little baby girl came into the world, and then there were three.

During each of the next five pregnancies, I remember imagining the cute little new pile of clean laundry that would be added to my coffee table as I went through the clothes-folding ritual. After each baby was born, my heart would swell as I looked at the new, tiny pile and I would give thanks to God for letting me bring in another little human into our world.

Laundry piles also symbolized the departure of family members. When Rob would deploy for four, six or even twelve months at a time overseas, as I completed the laundry during the days after he left, his pile would disappear. I would be left with only the kids' and my piles and it would be a sad realization that his pile would not appear for many months to come.

The most heart-wrenching experience I had with piles of laundry was when Rob suddenly and unexpectedly passed away four years ago, leaving me a widow with six children, the youngest of whom was two years old. As I folded up the last of his laundered fatigues after his funeral, I was heart-broken to think that I would never have his pile on the coffee table again. We were down to just seven piles now - the kids' and mine.

A few months after Rob's death, I met a wonderful man at church named John. We are soul mates and we knew it right away, so we married two months after we met. Since then he has added his pile of dress shirts and slacks, and three more little piles as he has given me a beautiful blonde little boy who is his clone and two new twin babies, who look like me. We are only down to ten piles now , though, (but sometimes only nine if the twins happen to be the same size at the time) because our oldest, Bethany has been off to college for a year now. I remember folding her clothes two weeks before she was to leave and thinking that this pile would dwindle to nothing soon, perhaps only to be rekindled briefly during her visits home. It was bittersweet.




How many piles we will end up with only God can tell, but for now, I am going to enjoy my ten while they last. Conor will be leaving in two years. Will we have an eleventh pile before he goes, or a twelveth? Stick around with me and find out!

What are your thoughts on laundry?

14 comments:

emily said...

Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Congratulations on your twins...and what an exciting and difficult road you have had to travel to get to where you are now.

I don't know that I have any advice to offer a mom with nine children :) My twins are 4 and a half and my son is 2 so you know, we are just starting out. My girls are fraternal. I see your poll there in the sidebar...I'm curious to know what yours are :) They look a lot alike, but fraternal twins can look a lot alike too.

I hope to hear from you again!

Troy the Marathon Man said...

Well, since you're so fond of piles of laundry, I'll GLADLY let you have mine! That's how I feel about laundry.

CJ, the Purple Diva said...

Oh how sweet you make doing laundry sound! If we could all be that thankful for the piles of laundry we do each day!
Every time I fold a load now I will think of you!
I can't wait to find out how many more piles of laundry you will have!

Lep N Deb said...

You can keep the laundry..are you ever coming home??? I have been back for two weeks and there has been no jen whetten in town!

Amanda said...

I have a super fab, super huge, washer and dryer. I don't mind folding clothes. I hate putting them away. Usually I wash clean clothes over and over, because they magically fly out of the drawers and onto the floor. I want a magic wand. I promise to only use it for laundry....P.S. I get you with the whole pile thing....I am so there...

RhondaLue said...

well doggone it I'm going to be more appreciative of my laundry piles from now on! What a great post. I know that it's a tough pill to swallow when a pile disappears.

We only have 6 kids and the laundry is never-ending but I won't be complaining about that anytime soon!

Amanda B. said...

Wow- this was cool to read...and heartbreaking. I did not know you had lost a husband- that is one of my worst fears and I am so sorry for your loss, while at the same time- so happy for your new love.

I hate doing laundry- but also have a bit of an obsession at the same time. I do laundry like crazy for two days so that for a few hours on that second day- I have no laundry in any hampers and all is clean and put away. I short feeling of joy, yes, but worth it. Then I don't have to do it again for 6 days. But, I have always enjoyed doing the baby (ies) laundry each time I had a baby (ies) born because, I too, was grateful for that extra pile because it meant I had been given such an awesome gift (s) :) from God. :)

The Farmer's Wife said...

Who would have known that such deep thought could come from laundry. It made me think of my own piles and the possibility of them diminishing. Oh dear...my eyes are full of tears. I do love laundry...I always have...thanks for your thoughts!

Jarmeg Family said...

What a great way to look at laundry and thank you for sharing your story. I always wondered about your story and what happened but of course never asked. What trials, but what blessings!

Kelli said...

My darling Jen,
This is by far the first time I've wanted to run and do laundry. The Marine is gone right now and I'm going to direct him to this post as being the reason I just couldn't do all the laundry because while he was gone if I did it, I would get rid of his pile completely and that would make me sad... (You actually made me have a moment... that doesn't happen often... I love you and I'm glad your my friend!)

Mrs. Jo said...

What a beautiful story! It truly is a blessing to have all those tiny clothes around, and husband's clothes, because it means that we are blessed with loved ones!

Rachelle said...

I wish I could love laundry as much as you do. We have 8 piles here in our house (6 kids). I guess I have too much going on to enjoy that part of my day. I do love all those that wear those piles though! You are truly an amazing woman and I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for all of your inspiration!

alessandra said...

I never imagined to be so touched by some piles of laundry, thank you, You're really amazing.

Micaela said...

this post completely changed my view of laundry. Now when I do laundry I hope to have the same outlook you do. I hope to see it as a blessing and I hope to see more piles in the next few years. thanks so much for reminding us all of how blessed we are!