Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's not me; it's you...

I love textiles.
My children must each have somewhere in the vicinity of 20 throw blankets in varying size, weight, and texture.
When I move or redecorate, the first thing I tend to focus on are the drapes. I have way more bedding than anyone could ever need, including 4 sets for a Queen size bed, which I no longer even own. My attic is full of boxes of fabric both vintage and new. I know some day I'll use it all for some project or another. No matter what the condition of the rest of the house, I make my bed EVERY DAY, in a manner that only I can do perfectly. Brett does his best to help me out, but I just end up re-doing it anyway. Duvet pulled taught; no wrinkles across the bed. Pillows lined according to case color; darkest in the back closest to the headboard, lightest in the front.
And when it comes to housekeeping chores, of which I am most certainly NOT a fan, I can safely say that I love to fold laundry. Not only do I enjoy the task, I actually can't stand for anyone else to do it. There is a certain way that I like t-shirts folded. When done properly, it resembles a tight, smooth square of fabric. Almost brick-like in appearance. My methods make even the dingiest, ripped clothes look orderly. I am immensely proud to say that I can fold the shit out of a fitted sheet.
I'm working on my crazy, really trying to scale back my OCD, or "model being flexible" as my pediatrician and bff would say. But there are certain things, like the laundry, that I feel completely unprepared to let go of. So, what happens when my territory starts being invaded? I will allow my husband to fold his own clothes when he chooses. However, I prefer if this is done out of my sight, as it is nearly impossible for me to resist physically taking over.
When my mother and mother in law pitched in to help after I had my last two children, they mistakenly thought that handling the mounting piles of laundry would be a no brainer. A welcome helping hand. But could I be grateful, smile, and put the clothes away? No. I felt completely violated. Not that they saw my "unmentionables", for I had just practically died giving birth to my twin sons. I could've cared less about modesty at that point. But it was wrong. All wrong. The pants, shirts, socks and all needed to be refolded. My way.
And now, my oldest, bless his little heart, wants to help me fold laundry. He loves the sorting and stacking, and the cracking noise it makes when you shake the wrinkles out from a pair of jeans. It is seriously an anxiety attack in the making for me. He is so proud of his job well done; a crumpled, wrinkled mess. Facecloths folded inside out so that the Spiderman graphics are barely visible. A blurry mess of red, blue and black silkscreening on nubby terrycloth.
I have lots of dreams for my sons. Most are just your average run of the mill kind of things everyone wants for their kids. I hope they grow up knowing they're loved so much by so many people. I hope they aren't bullied, or even worse, become bullies. I hope they find true love with a great partner. I hope that they all stay close throughout their lives, even when I am dead and gone. Some involve him being a chef, or a career in MLB, where he takes the home team discount to play his entire career for the Red Sox with Gabe Kapler as GM, but I digress. I'm trying to bear in mind that they need to live their own lives. And I will love all of my kids, even if they suck at folding as bad as their father does. But, like anything you do with your children, whether it's baseball or reading, my wish is that by participating in this activity with me, he will get better and better.
Some day he may even be as good a folder as I am! Together, we could develop new folding techniques, be featured in the "Housekeeping Section" of Martha Stewart Living, rendering the majority of our ironing useless!
But for right now, for his sake, I have to push myself way out of my psychopath fucked-up laundry comfort zone, bite my tongue, resist refolding (which only happens occasionally now- baby steps) and simply smile and say, "Thanks. Great job."


The Bean said...

Liz---A couple of things. First of all, will you PLEASE school me in the folding of a fitted sheet? I usually give up part way through and mine looks more like some misshapen lump. Also, I love your textiles, too....almost as much as I love paper, and I would be happy to take some bedding off your hands if you need to purge it.

Ms. Jackson (if you're nasty) said...

Follow the link to Martha's page. It changed my life.

Rebekah said...

OMG - this is me to a tee! I finally started my 3 older boys in doing their laundry themselves because it did get to the point of too much work for me. My stepson was folding and I tried to correct him and he looked at me and said, "there is more than one way to fold." And I almost peed my pants laughing, cause he was right. So now I let them do it, and I don't watch! I am the same way with my mother - she will fold my laundry when she is at my house, thinking she is helping me and I nearly lose it every time I go to put the laundry away. And to make it worse, she is left handed which means my laundry is folded backwards! Is there any help for us? Glad to know I am not alone!