For the first time ever in the history of Fenelon Clan, the laundry is completely done. That’s right, I have conquered Laundry Mountain. The laundry bag, washer, and dryer are all empty. The clothes have all been folded and put away, the laundry baskets are neatly tucked away in their corner and I can relax. I’ve waited for this day all of my married life and now it’s time to celebrate.
Actually, that’s the last thing I feel like doing. Instead of rejoicing, I’d rather sulk. Conquering Laundry Mountain doesn’t have anything to do with my laundering prowess or efficiency. It has nothing to do with my dedicated motherhood and nurturing heroism. I’m not a whiz at household duties. No, conquering Laundry Mountain signals the fact that there are now fewer people living in our house and thus less laundry to tackle.
We’re down to two at home now. Our oldest two have moved out and our middle son prefers to do significant portions of his laundry himself. So, I’m washing clothes for about three and a half people. No great feat, then, in conquering Laundry Mountain.
I really enjoy having our kids around. I love to observe how they grow and develop, to hear about what inspires them or confuses them. Even though they occasionally consider my questioning nosy or annoying, I ask about their lives because I’m genuinely interested in them as individuals and proud of their accomplishments. I love the excited talk at the supper table and simply hanging out together. I love being Fenelon Clan, and I’ve even come to love Laundry Mountain as a sign that we are still together as a family.
These days I call or Facebook my older kids to find out about what’s new in their lives. I leave messages for them and anticipate their calling back. They stop over often and we still have our vacations and holidays together, but it’s different now. They have a life of their own and instead of being in the center, I’m off to the side. I’m merely a part of the plan God has for them instead of the instrument that facilitates it.
Of course, I know this is God’s plan for me, too. I was born to raise these kids, born to someday let them go. Whenever I think about my children growing up and leaving home, I’m drawn to a brief passage from St. Luke’s Gospel:
“Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there” (Lu 9:4).
Jesus is instructing his apostles, preparing them for their journeys to spread the Good News to all nations. He’s reminding them that each place they stay is simply that – a place to stay.
I can almost hear our Lord telling the same thing to my kids. He might advise them to be thankful for the time they had together and then be prepared to journey wherever he might want them to spread the Good News. And he might remind me that conquering Laundry Mountain is the herald of a great mission about to take place.