Home is Where the Person Who Does Your Laundry Lives
"My oldest child, Meghan, started her freshman year in college—a six hour drive away from us here in Atlanta—this past August. Since birth, she’s been my independent, “do it myself” child so I never really envisioned her clinging to the car bumper as we drove away after move-in weekend. She did not disappoint. She even made sure to tell us that we probably wouldn’t be hearing from her until Thanksgiving. Not exactly what a mother wants to hear, but some small part of me did applaud her independent spirit. There’s a reason why people who know us both call her “Mini Me.” Just never within her hearing, of course.
The first chink in her armor occurred on Saturday of the move-in weekend. We were on our 50th trip to Target to pick up a shoe rack that actually fits inside the tiny wall compartment that’s supposedly a closet when Meghan remembered that we hadn’t purchased any of her laundry supplies yet. I suppressed a shout of glee as we headed to the appropriate aisle.
You see, doing laundry for my family has been the bane of my existence for about eighteen years. In the wide scope of things, I don’t have it that bad: I’ve got a really large laundry room, a state-of-the-art HE washer and dryer, and the laundry room is even located upstairs where all the bedrooms are so there’s no hoisting up and down the stairs. If I didn’t always have a pressing book deadline, I might even enjoy the eight to ten hours every week that I spend in there. Yes, my children are old enough to do their laundry, but since I don’t cook, I figured I couldn’t bail on the laundry, too.
So when Meghan headed off to school, I’d begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel with my laundry duties finally waning. Truly, laundry had always been something I did out of necessity, never once suspecting that anybody actually noticed.
Which is why it was a huge surprise to see Meghan picking out the exact same products I used: the detergent, the bleach with the ocean scent, the lavender fabric softener sheets. When her father pointed out that their store brands that were a lot less expensive (since paying that first tuition bill, my husband has become a lot more cost conscious than before) Meghan nonchalantly mentioned that she wanted her sheets and clothes to smell just like they did at home.
What? She noticed that? Without question, I pulled the old familiar standards from the shelves and loaded the cart and happily shelled out the money for my daughter’s piece of home away from home. I remembered, too, doing the same thing and how I would dream of coming home for holidays and burying my face in my pillow to sniff deeply and feel home. Even after I got married and had my own house and family, I continued to use the same detergent as my mother.
In my new book, FALLING HOME, I explore the concept of home, and what it means to each of us. Cassie Madison, estranged from her family for fifteen years, returns as a stranger to the small Georgia town where she’d been raised, only to find out that home is a place that lives in your heart, waiting with open arms to be rediscovered. It’s what I call my “Steel Magnolias” book, covering the whole spectrum of emotions. It also explores the correct use of “butter my butt and call me a biscuit,” but that’s for another blog.
For the record, Meghan texts, emails, or calls at least twice a day—a lot more communication than I had with her while she was actually living in the same house. She’s coming home for her fall break in two weeks. I’ll make sure that she’ll have freshly laundered sheets on her bed, and will pretend to listen when she claims that I probably won’t hear from her again until Christmas."
Thank-you so much to Karen for taking the time to stop by today! Now, courtesy of Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting I have two copies of Falling Home by Karen White to give away.
1. *Mandatory Entry* Do you still live in/close to the place that you grew up? If not, do you ever think about "returning home"? Please include your e-mail address with your response. No e-mail = no entry.
2. *Bonus Entry* Become a follower of this blog through Google Friend Connect and leave me a comment to let me know that you follow. Already a follower? Leave me a separate comment to let me know that you already do.
3. *Bonus Entry* Spread the word about this contest in any way that you choose. Facebook it, Tweet it, post it on your blog or sidebar. Just leave me a separate comment to let me know how you did it.
This contest is open to Canadian and US mailing addresses only, and runs until November 17, 2010. Winners will be notified by e-mail. Good luck!