How many loads of laundry does the average mom of small children do every week?
I wondered this as I schlepped yet another armful of toddler-sized clothes from the dryer onto the nearby dining room table. Fun fact: Less than half of these items ever make it from the dining room table to their rightful homes in my daughters’ bedroom drawers.
I’m going to guess that I run the washing machine about seven times every week. What about you, friends? More, or less?
I began sorting through the latest heap of tangled, still-warm footed pajamas, hoodies and nine-inch skinny jeans. Anna, who just turned 1, had already outgrown some of these clothes. I set them into a pile on the side. Within no time, that pile grew big enough to fill a large paper bag.
I gestured to the bag. “Bring this across the street tomorrow?” I asked my husband. There was a new blue bin in the shopping village parking lot where people in the community could donate clothes for children who needed them. Stanton said he would.
I surveyed the dining room table. There was a lot less at my fingertips now.
Later that evening, I pulled a box of Grace’s 12- to 18-month-old clothes out of the back of a closet. Three years ago, I had donated a lot of her recently-outgrown outfits too. But like many moms, I saved some “special” clothes—gifts from loved ones that had sentimental value; the red velvet dress that Grace wore for our first family photo; a light green T-shirt with two dogs chasing after a ball, “Having a Ball” stitched underneath, that I loved.
Within minutes, I had filled up Anna’s dresser drawers with these “new” clothes, plus the freshly laundered ones from the dining room table.
“Enough is a feast,” says an old Buddhist proverb. I’ve always liked this thought, and it struck me in that moment. We can share with others, give from our bounty, and still have plenty.
Stanton and I have been lucky to have family members and friends who have given us so much. More than we deserve, more than we can repay. True gifts, from the heart.
The most meaningful way to say thank you, we think, is by paying that kindness forward. Giving of what we have. Being people whom others can count on. Doing something productive and meaningful with the time we have on this earth.
Time. As we get older, we realize exactly how precious time is. How precious and how priceless.
The gift of our time possibly is the most valuable thing we have to give. I need to remind myself of this sometimes, especially on days when my dining room table is heaped high with laundry. With towels and bibs and all of Grace’s dance outfits.
To pause. To say yes to going down to the river together, instead of getting just one more thing done around the house.
“Grace, do we have enough bread to feed the ducks?”
“Got plenty, Mom!”
Enough is a feast.
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