The Laundry Manifesto—given at the dinner table, September 10, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Friends, mes amis, mes petits and mon cheri: You know I adore doing laundry. Truly. It is not a chore for me-I appreciate the swish of the machine-the clothespins for those sunny days--the rumble of the dryer-and even the lint that ensues. That is for the record.

I have several issues, however, that I thought I might address here and now, as we are all gathered, to help you understand some of the finer details I have come to appreciate as I launder your over and undergarments.

Firstly. As much as I love for you to walk out of our home each day wearing clean underwear-as much as I love for your panties to sparkle and exude an odor that is clean and fresh, with slight hints of citrus or lavender-I do not appreciate having to hand peel your dirty underwear from the inside of your jeans, or your pajamas, or your smelly soccer shorts. I do not appreciate their friendliness; two dirty articles of clothing intertwined. Please, uncouple the clothes, give them their own voice, their own place in the laundry basket, however difficult that is for you. Thank you for your consideration.

Secondly. Men. It is, I'm sure, partially my fault that I birthed a boy who is now almost identical in size to my husband. Even so, do not blame me for confusing your esteemed socks. I tried desperately to make this easy on all of us by gifting white sport socks to one and black to another. By purchasing black dress socks for the hubby and brown for the son. I figured you could borrow. But your tastes over time have merged and I am at a loss. I won't even mention the dilemma of the stripes. If the wrong socks are somehow present in your basket, be of good cheer. There are children in Africa without any. I'm happy to send yours to them if you gripe.

Thirdly. Les chausettes, once again. In the same line of thinking as the dirty pantalettes, I would prefer if you kindly would turn your own socks right side out before washing. They're stinky and I only touch them with my thumb and index finger. Which means, they're often washed inside out. After much research, all of the science PROVES that socks are cleaned much more thoroughly if they're washed right side out. Just a seed of thought to tuck behind your eyeballs and consider.

Lastly. If you don't like me, if you don't appreciate my bread baking skills, my tremendous way with folding, my red hair, or my delight at writing eloquent laundry manifestos, then you may freely do your own laundry. The machines are there. The soap. The buttons are fun to push. You might even find yourself drawn to it and embark on an adventure of suds and lavender scented sachets. You never know.

I appreciate your attentiveness, your willingness to open your ears, your hearts, your very nerves and capillaries. Beauty comes in many forms, even in clean and folded forms, and I love you.

If you're six, and your name is John Ronan, then you are exempt from this speech. As long as you know where the laundry basket is located, which you do, then all I ask is that you disregard the whole part about doing your own laundry and never ever, jamais, push any of the washing machine buttons. Not until you're ten, in three years and two months. Pretty please, with honey on top.