It’s been pretty cold outside lately, but today I’ve been thinking back on those beautiful summer months. Specifically, I’ve been remembering Ethan, my little 2-yo-buddy, as he helped with the laundry last summer. I would empty the contents of the washer into a laundry basket to carry out to the line. At that point, Ethan was bound to show up. “Me help Mama! Me help Mama” he would exclaim. His demands were hard to put off, and if I tried, it ended in tears. So, with great difficulty, but also with great joy, I would let him help. As soon as he assumed the role of ‘helper’, my simple chore turned into a complex task. He insisted that he, and he alone carry one side of the laundry basket, while I carry the other side. Certainly, 20 lbs of wet laundry cannot even 1/2 be carried by a 2 year old, so that required that I, his mother, carry all 20 lbs of laundry by only ONE handle. Not only did I have the entire load to bear, with half the tools needed, but I was also required to steady his fumbling gait. I was required to walk the long way around the yard in order to avoid any bumps or dips. When he stumbled, the load fell on me, holding one little handle of a heavy laundry basket to hold him up. And when we eventually arrived at the clothesline, we would set down our load, he would beam up at me with those big eyes and bigger smile while proclaiming, “Me help Mama!” And then, he would ‘help’ me as we hung laundry on a line that reached above his head.
Since last summer, my little buddy has turned 3. I expect that this summer will be easier as we walk out to the clothesline. He won’t stumble so much, and he might even be able to hold up a little of his half of the chore. It will be easier to have him help, but it will not be more precious. No, the most precious days of his helping with the laundry are just about over. That simple white laundry basket will live on in my mind for the rest of my life.