Last night I folded clothes. Loads and loads of them. It might have been the largest pile of clean clothes ever. Okay, it wasn't. The largest pile of clean clothes ever existed some 25 years ago, in a house on the north shore of Oahu.
My dad does the laundry in our family. When he and my mom were first married, she turned ALL of their unmentionables a lovely shade of mint green. My dad took over from there and 40 years later is still going strong. When we were kids, he would do the laundry, pile it on the spare bed in my brother's room and then fold it when he found the time. Sometimes the pile would grow to epic proportions (I have 5 brothers and sisters), a veritable Mt. Everest of clean laundry, before he was able to get to it.
One day, my younger brother Lance turned up missing. He was probably only 3 or 4 years old at the time. We lived in a very small town then, on a circle where all the houses faced each other. Everyone had kids all the same ages. We used to play kick the can and red rover and dodge ball and freeze tag endlessly. Most of the neighbors had an open door policy and kids would come and go at their leisure. Even the little ones. But, Lance was gone for a long time that day. Too long. And the panic set in. Where could he be? The whole circle started a search. Every house, every room, everyone, everywhere. No Lance. And, then, when panic was morphing to terror, he was found! Huzzah! Peacefully sleeping nestled in the folds of Mt. Laundry. Blissfully unaware of the manhunt going on around him. Tears of relief came first. And, then, we folded the clothes.
My pile last night was not swallow up a child big, but it was close. And, while I was folding clothes and thinking about sleeping Lance, I wondered where my other half was. I mean, folding clothes, like most chores is more fun if done together. The kids were asleep and the house was quiet. I stopped for a minute and listened. I heard the tell-tale music of Mario and friends. I saw faint lights dancing on the ceiling. I thought, "surely he isn't doing that, while I'm doing this?!?!" I said, trying to disguise my irritation with calm, "Um, what are you doing?" The reply came, "I'm trying to beat the game so Caleb can play more levels."
I love my kids enough to keep them in clean clothes and he loves them enough to clear the way on Mario Kart. The things we do for love.