Every Friday I have a most welcome visitor – my 21-month-old granddaughter. Before she arrives I hurry to get my morning tasks done because once she walks in the door, the only chore that will be done the rest of the day is the laundry. Laundry? Yes, because I have a front-loading washing machine and my little darling likes to help me load sheets and towels and clothes into it. I love it! I had no idea that doing laundry together would be a wonderful part of being a grandma.
But now that I think about it, I should have known because of my experiences with my own grandmother. I had the best grandmother and I have purposely thought back to what made her so wonderful when I consider my own role as a grandmother. What I had forgotten was that laundry was a part of the magic of Grandma’s house.
First, the washing machine was in the basement – a place I didn’t get to see at any other time than when Grandma was doing laundry. The stairs were steep and dark and the room smelled earthy and dank. It was nothing like the finished basement at my house. There were dark corners with interesting shapes and another set of stairs that led to the back yard. I loved going down into that mysterious basement.
Then there was hanging the wash on the clothesline out back. I remember the bag of clothespins that hung from the clothesline so that Grandma could easily grab them. I was too short, of course, to help but being outside with her, watching her pin up the clothes, watching them flap in the wind was part of the Grandma magic too.
And, last, the ironing. Ironing was done in Grandma’s bedroom. I would lay on her bed and watch. I remember so clearly that when she needed to put more water in the iron she would reach for her pretty little Shirley Temple pitcher to fill it up. Even now the hiss of steam from an iron and the smell of freshly ironed clothes takes me back to Grandma’s bedroom.
There were so many things I did with Grandma – learning to crochet, playing endless games of Go Fish and War, pinching snapdragons to see their mouths open, making blades of grass screech, learning to love reading – all things I plan to do someday with my little Aria as I learn to be a grandma. But for tomorrow, Friday, it will be stuffing the washer and letting her pretend to push the buttons. We have so much to look forward to!