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What I Want To Teach My Kids About Laundry

Chances are if I’m not feeding babies, hushing tears away, cleaning dirty bottoms and the kitchen floor… I’m doing laundry.

Our boys have seen me carry armful by armful of their little clothes and our much bigger ones from hamper to the washer to the dryer to the bedroom to fold.

They’ve seen me drop socks and wet washcloths and have heard me stub my toe on the baby gate I trip over when I can’t see for the piled up tangle of sweaters in front of me.

Their little eyes watch me pour the detergent, and their little hands have learned to pull up on the giant round window that lets them peek into the watery world where bubbles swoosh and blend the mess together.

They would stomp in the clothes like colorful fall leaves and become pirates and wild animals and slip into sweatshirts like Daddy all day if I’d let them.

It’s part of their lives. Everyday lives. And so, I want them to learn a few more things about what I’m doing, other than how accomplished it feels to wipe that lint filter clean.

1. Laundry is a good thing.

No matter how many times you may hear me sigh as I go grab more hangers from the closet, I am thankful. I am thankful for the clothes we have to keep warm, the blankets and rags and little bitty socks. I’m more thankful for the little bitty feet that wear them. I’m thankful for the water and soap we have to clean, the ability I have to carry, the way you smile when we button up your favorite PJs at night. All warm and cozy.

2. No chore is unnoticed.

You may see more of me at the base of that  big round tub you like watching, but Daddy washes the laundry, too. You may have not seen my smile when I walked into our bedroom, clothes neatly folded before I got there, and you may have missed it when he carried the load for me without me asking, but I didn’t. You have the opportunity to help, too. It may not always be something you enjoy, but taking some time to help make someone else’s task easier will be rewarded in ways that might even be hidden to you at first. But it’s there. In a smile, in a certain appreciation for a job you didn’t have to do – but you did it anyway. A contribution. All because you cared.

3. We can get clean.

The biggest lesson, by far, my little ones. I love watching you roll around wreck-less, your smiles and laughter, like music, like worship, fill this house as I see God’s goodness before me. You giggle as you slurp spaghetti, and you stare at your colorful fingers that we painted to capture this tender age you’ll never be again. You fall down in the dirt outside and dig up rocks with those chubby hands. All the while, clothes get splattered and spotted and stained. But that’s not the end of them. We can pull them off and scrub them up, and most of the time, they’re good as new.

Now, one day, little dears, you may find more than your clothes messed up and dirty, and don’t be discouraged, i get that way, too.

However, we can be clean again, just like our socks. White as snow, actually.  Just come to our Father, tell Him what you’ve done, and in His mercy and amazing love, He will take the stains away. If you ask, you watch Him closely, He will make you as good as new. Clean. All because of Him. You may fuss a little when He strips you down; you may push and fight, but He is there to help. He will make it better. Every time.

And I will give thanks for the laundry we’ve washed. I will give thanks as you learn to do your own, and I will feel joy as I see you help your spouses and your children as they need to feel clean, too.

Because, it is not about the number of times that buzzer went off to remind me of another load, it is about the time we’ve shared and the lessons we’ve learned.

It’s about the time it took to get clean.  White as snow, little ones, white as snow.

“Come now, let us settle this matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

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