I don’t know about you, but doing laundry is a real money maker in my household. Not only does the occasional quarter or dollar bill show up in the lint trap, but my laundry almost always yields cold hard cash even before it hits the washer.
How, you might ask? First, some background.
I don’t know when it happened, but my house has been invaded by two tweens and a teen! It seems like just yesterday, that my babies (three under the age of 3) were learning to walk and talk. Oh, how cute they were! I have a million pictures to prove it!
Yes, there were diapers to change, but my kids were easily amused with games of peak-a-boo and hide ‘n seek, as well as mesmerized by Baby Einstein videos (new to the world back then!) and Bob the Builder episodes. They wore whatever I put on them and were happy about it. There was no back talking, eye rolling or moans and groans about helping out around the house. Their rooms stayed clean – and so did they. Holiday shopping was easy too! There were no $500 electronics on the list. Oh, and they napped. Ah, naps.
Today, they are 11, 12 and 14 and there are no naps (unless you count the snooze button when it’s time to get up for school in the morning). Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade them for the world as they were not easy to come by.
After what seemed like endless infertility treatments, failed IVFs and four miscarriages, my husband and I decided to adopt. While we initially set out to adopt from within the US, we were introduced to the Korean adoption program and fell in love. I remember asking him, “Do you care if our baby doesn’t look like us?” He didn’t and neither did I. What was most important to us was adopting a baby that was as young as possible and healthy.
Then came the paperwork — tons of it – followed by fingerprinting, letters of recommendation, police checks, personal essays and more. Next came the waiting…endless waiting. You see, first, your paperwork heads overseas. Then you wait for a referral (information about and pictures of the baby that has been matched to you). Then comes the wait for medical updates and finally for “the call” that it was time to pick up your baby. What an amazing day, only to be outdone by the first time your baby is placed in your arms.
For us, that glorious day came twice — first, for our oldest son, followed two years later by our daughter. They are miracles in every sense of the word and have changed our lives forever. In fact, they saved mine.
Less than one year later, our youngest son was born. I know, you hear about this sort of thing happening all the time, but the percentage is actually pretty low. It was not an easy pregnancy. There were many complications, but he’s here. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure I haven’t dreamed the last 11 years.
That doesn’t last for long as it all comes flooding back each time overflowing baskets (that were just empty two days earlier) are carried into the laundry room by my darlings. Without fail, each basket contains shirts and pants that are still neatly folded from when they were last washed and sent upstairs to be put away. Frequent finds also include socks, still balled up in pairs, and even the occasional new clothing item still bearing tags!
While I am new to the teenage stage, I must say that a $3 fee for each clean item found in the dirty laundry seems to be working. I still find the occasional bathing suit and rash guard shirt in the dirty laundry in the dead of winter, but their numbers are on the decline. The truth is that, while they don’t know it, the money always goes right back into their stashes.
Secretly, I’m grateful to have all that laundry to do. Each piece, dirty or not reminds me of how blessed I am for the gift of my very special family. I hope you are too. I wish you many lucrative loads of laundry and a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Who will you be celebrating with this Valentine’s Day?