It’s funny to me that a simple family chore could teach me to love and appreciate my boyfriend far more than I previously did. Let’s set the record straight for a moment; I despise laundry. I read an article on Facebook about six months ago, talking about a machine that would fold your laundry for you. Sadly, I’ll never be able to afford such a luxury, so of course I’m still folding the clothes of a small army by hand.
My boyfriend and I pick Sunday to do laundry. On good days, the laundry is wash, dried, folded, and put away by their owners. However, about a month ago, there was one Sunday that the laundry was just washed and dried, stuffed into baskets, and placed at the foot of our bed. My boyfriend threw himself into bed that night and asked me that one question no mother/girlfriend ever wants to hear: “Can you fold those tomorrow?” I nodded, though I knew full well I’d have to study all night to learn to force to make those clothes fold themselves.
Boy was I devastated when I woke up the next morning and the clothes were still in their baskets. Damn you, George Lucas, you made me believe the force was real. I dashed upstairs and made myself some coffee, trying to find anything and everything to occupy my time so I could say that I was too busy to fold clothes. Sadly that opportunity never came and I departed to the basement. I knew I’d need all the help I could get, so I turned on some music and started to sort the clothes by owner. Once one person’s clothes were folded, I delivered them to their room so they could do the deed of putting them away. After about an hour and a half, all that was left was my boyfriend’s.
Now out of our two children and ourselves, my boyfriend has the least amount of clothes, yet he has just enough for the week. Some of his jeans are worn, with holes either by design or by the wear and tear of his job. I giggled to myself as I held up his most recent pair of jeans, the ones he bought from Walmart after telling me “these will be just fine”. Being the snarky female that I am, I thought to myself “once again, I was right about the quality of the jeans,” as I tossed them onto the folded pile. His shirts were folded quickly and all that was left were his socks. That’s when I noticed them.
Holes. He had just bought a new pack of socks, and the new ones had holes in them. I shook my head in disbelief, and glanced at his briefs. Those had holes too! His undershirts, flannels, new jeans, socks, briefs. Everything had at least one hole. I shook my head and thought back to the last time he bought himself clothes, good quality clothes like the ones we try to find our children. My heart began racing because in the two years we have been together, he only bought cheap clothes to get him by. But it didn’t stop at the clothes, his shoes were often cheap Walmart specials that wore out after three months use. His work boots were full of holes as well! I couldn’t understand how I didn’t notice.
How could I not notice that his clothes were slowly falling apart, and he was more concerned about the children, about me. How could I not notice that he knew I cared about how I looked, and sacrificed a new wardrobe for articles to add to mine that I’d probably never wear more than once.
My heart dropped to my stomach. This man wakes up every day, goes to work where he has to lift heavy furniture, and come home to help take care of the kids. On the weekends instead of relaxing, he is cleaning around the house, doing laundry on Sunday afternoons. I choke back tears, knowing the last year I have been hoping and pleading that people will see that he and I are the same in terms of working. That just because I’m not as physical at work as he is, doesn’t mean that what I do doesn’t help the family. I was ashamed that the first thought I had when I saw his jeans with holes starting to show their presence was a chance for me to be right.
That night, when he came home and tried to fight off sleep in the recliner, I looked at him with new light. He works every single day to always give our family what we need, and often what we desire. He does this without a single complaint. Meanwhile, I am sitting back arguing with people, saying that my job is just as demanding as his. I walk over to him and kiss his forehead, being cautious not to wake him. I see him with new found love, and the love I feel for him has come full circle.
Lesson six: Love is not about one person, love is two people becoming one.