My backyard rainbow

 I was putting laundry on the line this morning and Emily came out the back door. She looked at what I was doing and said, “Making a rainbow again, mom?”

Yes, I admit it. I arrange my laundry in pretty patterns as I put it out to dry. Sometimes it is by length, longest to shortest, with pants at the far end and socks close to the house. Sometimes it is by item, with all the pants together, then the shorts, then the shirts. And sometimes, like today, I put them in order of colour. I began with dark red, then pink, orange, yellow, green and blue.

My husband thinks this is ridiculous. Why bother? he says. It’s a waste of time. Nobody cares. Passersby can barely even see the laundry hanging on the line, and even if they look at it they won’t notice something like how the clothes are organized.

The thing is, I notice. I love looking outside and seeing a pretty pattern, or a tidy row. It is beautiful to me. It may be only a small thing, but enjoy it. And that is enough of a reason to spend just a few extra seconds selecting the next shirt or sock to hang on the line.

Part of why my laundry can be so beautiful has nothing to do with how much time I spend hanging it or how organized I am about it. I have children, and we have the resources to buy them nice clothes. My little ones delight in wearing pinks and oranges, blues and greens. They go from small to tall. They have rich, full lives in which they wear a huge variety of clothes to church, swimming lessons, music performances, and soccer games. If our laundry line had nothing but my clothes and those of my husband, there would be little more than grey, white, and black, and all of them about the same size. How dull.

When I take the time to sort my laundry and hang it out in a pattern, it reminds me that my children are gifts to be treasured. And at a moment when I am tempted to be resentful rather than grateful–four children produce an awful lot of laundry, after all–this is welcome. So my husband may still think it’s weird, but if I can add a little bit of beauty and a little bit of gratitude to my day, I still say it’s a good idea.

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5 Responses to My backyard rainbow

  1. Anne says:

    A laundress after my own heart!

  2. dm says:

    Well said. Doing the laundry and other menial tasks can be relaxing sometimes. I remember one summer in France, I was doing the laundry for the two of us at the laundromat. I was taking my time and carefully folding everything and didn’t realize there was somebody waiting for a turn behind me. When I saw him waiting I apologized and quickly finished, but he said that he was not concerned as it was rare to see someone content to complete such a task so carefully. I thought his remark was a little strange, but later I reflected on it and realized that I was happy to be doing laundry for us two!
    Now I do laundry for us plus the kids of course. I am enjoying being able to hang stuff up outside too. It is much nicer than in the winter when I hang it up in the basement!

  3. I can just see you methodically folding everything neatly in that laundromat! And how nice that someone was not impatient but encouraging. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. I love hanging laundry on the line. It’s so relaxing. For me, it’s a simple, old-fashioned task that offers a break in a world full of screaming phones and computer screens. I love the rainbow idea!

    • Yes. My computer is actually right by the back door, right where the laundry gets hung up. It’s amazing how good it feels to just leave the screen and go a few feet away to the laundry. Thanks for your comments!

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