A neighbor happened to call the other afternoon. “How do you find the time to hang out all that laundry?” she asked.
“It gets the girls outside,” was my reply of the moment. But as I thought about her question later, I realized that I look forward to that time hanging out the laundry.
Yes, it is quicker in the wintertime when I just throw the wet clothes in the dryer. But I miss the quiet moments in the sunshine, the wind rippling through the sheets and my hair, the cares disappearing along with the moisture.
I remember Mrs. Taylor giving the devotional at my bridal shower. She talked about how she loved to pray as she hung out her laundry. She said that wherever they had moved, her one constant had been her clothesline—and that she hoped I always had a clothesline like she had.
How do I find the time to hang out all that laundry? I make the time, out of sheer necessity. And not just the necessity of getting the clothes dry.
Granted, hanging out the laundry isn’t always serene these days. I have to direct Ruth about what she can hang on her mini clothesline (“Just the socks and washcloths—your shirts are too big.”). I have to keep Mary from bringing rocks into the yard (“And no, don’t pull your blankie off the line—it’s still wet!”). And if I don’t have Daniel in the ERGO, it’s a race to get the laundry out before he wakes up (“Girls, please do not yell right outside your brother’s window!”).
Sometimes, the clothes are still on the line when Merritt gets home for dinner, and he helps take them down while I feed Daniel after the girls are in bed. Some days, like today, it’s a mad dash out to grab the still-wet clothes off the line before they become even wetter from the rain.
On Wednesdays, I’m quite willing to let my mother’s helper get the experience of hanging out laundry herself, because I know there will be more for me to do tomorrow. (The thrice-a-week laundry schedule goes out the window with a spitty newborn in the house—but it’s oh-so-worth-it.)
Often, I’m not finished folding the clothes until after the girls are in bed, racing my husband to see if he can finish the dinner dishes or I can finish the laundry first. (And then I must remember not to leave the piles where Mary will oh-so-helpfully try to put them away before I do in the morning, un-folding every single item in the process!)
But still, hanging out the laundry, taking it down, folding the clothes big and small—it’s a few moments of quiet reflection, a few seconds of mental rest. So these days, I don’t find the time to hang out the laundry—I make the time to hang out the laundry.