Updating our laundry/mud room caused me to reflect on the transformations and the comings and goings the room has seen over almost 30 years. Memories surfaced and came together like a patchwork quilt while I was removing wallpaper, scraping the ceiling, scrubbing, sanding, removing countertops, and painting. Gratitude for all the life that has gone through that room washed over me with each memory.
I have pictures of our two girls, at the ages of two and four, wearing their snowsuits as they rode trikes in that space the winter we were building the house. Their tiny footprints are in the cement on the porch outside the door.
The laundry sink, now stained and scarred, was a handy place to wash toddlers’ dirty little feet and give baths to the two kittens and three puppies that joined our family over three decades.
The cabinet above the washer used to hold a big laundry basket for the clothes that came through the chute from the bedroom area upstairs. The clothes chute went out of service permanently in the early teen years when the terms of Mom’s Laundry Service changed.
We stood at the window in the mudroom as our 16- and 14-year-old girls pulled out the driveway the first day they were allowed to drive themselves to school. We prayed for their safety and good judgment as that most precious cargo drove away.
The closet first held little jackets, snowsuits and boots, with accessories stored in each person’s labeled drawer. As the girls’ clothing became bigger, the closet got fuller, until finally it held the belongings of four adults. Then as the girls went off to school, and finally their own homes, the available space was somehow filled by just the two of us — the empty-nesters.
Over the years the laundry room counter held art projects, clothes for mending and folding, roasters of meat for family gatherings and, one Saturday, individual cakes made by the first bride for her wedding and reception in the yard.
The transformation of the room is almost complete. Photos of laundry in Africa are arranged on the newly painted wall: a reminder of the privileges we have, the beauty inherent in all the world, and our responsibilities as stewards. My husband is putting in the countertops, and I recall the previous installation with his father who crafted the oak cabinets and has since passed away. We look forward now to having little toddler feet to wash in the laundry sink once again, as we prepare for the birth of our first grandchild.
The room feels fresh, calm and well-equipped. The laundry sink has its first scratch; life is good without being perfect. The seasons in the circle of life continue, and we welcome each dawn.
Good and gracious God, thank you for the gift of each new day. Help us to see your love and feel your joy and compassion in the people, animals and environment that surround us. Grant us grace, wisdom and a generous heart to steward these gifts and carry out your will. Amen.