Wednesday, March 28, 2007

From ranting to praising

This morning got off to a horrible start. Today was the district UIL choir contest. Our seventh grade daughter had to be out the door at 8:15, dressed up in a black party dress with a shrug.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, it would have been, if we had, oh, perhaps THREE WEEKS AGO, thought to locate the shrug. She had worn it to a wedding about a month ago, and, well, who knows what happened to it after that. The thought crossed my mind briefly last night that I should have her look for it, but I got distracted (imagine that!) and forgot. This morning, I spent no less than 45 minutes tearing through the house, the car (ugh!), every closet, every cavernous hamper, looking for something no larger than a handkerchief. And black.

If this were the first time something like this had happened, I might have had a little more sympathy. But no.

I don't know what happened, but somewhere between the preschool years (aka, my "anal" period) and middle school (my "it's your responsibility" period), something went terribly wrong. I dropped the ball helping my big kids keep their closets organized. We do okay with hand-me downs, and have a seasonal rampage to get rid of stuff. But on a day-to-day basis, the big kids are busy with other things, I'm not thinking about it much, and, well, it's not pretty.

Actually, I do know it happened about the time I started letting the kids put their own laundry away. Hmm. Come to think of it, perhaps not coincidentally, that was also about the time child #5 came along. They were putting it away somewhere, anyway, and most of the time they came out clothed, and, hey, I was just doing my best to maintain sanity, so what did I care? At any rate, it was downhill from there.

I know there are those of you out there whose five-year-olds do their own laundry, but I'm here to confess, my children are terrible folders. If we did not put every single shirt they own on a hanger, they would never be able to function in society. I shiver to think what would happen if they had to do their own laundry (could it really get any worse?), but I'm getting to the point of being willing to find out.

Furthermore, I swear I am ready to remove EVERY ITEM out of the older girls' closet. Seriously. I'm only putting back half of what they own until they can manage it. If I don't, I'm going to lose my mind! Or they´ll lose some things. Yes, that´s a better thought.

(Any empathy at this point would be more than welcomed. Just please don´t tell me your FOUR-year-old does her own laundry, okay?)


All my inward (and outward) ranting began to dissipate once I heard this delightful, 39-member girls' choir sing.

They performed three songs including an exquisite hymn with these lines from Psalm 100:

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra!
Oh, joyfully sing to God!
Serve the Lord with gladness,
And enter His gates with jubilation
Know that the Lord is God.
He has made us, not we ourselves.
We are His people,
And the sheep of His pasture.
Jubilate Deo!

The girls worked so hard and then got what they deserved: the highest marks from every judge.

So I'm thanking God after all today.

My daughter was not happy she had to wear a sweater over her party dress (yes, a pullover), but perhaps that served a higher purpose. It's not about her. It took me a while to get out of my own funk long enough to figure out, it's not about me, either (or about my frustrations this morning, although I'll be dealing with them soon!). Some of the girls didn't realize it at all, as they sang the words.

But God is still being lifted up in public schools, and even in my missing-laundry-crazed heart, through beautiful music.

Da Gloriam Deo!


Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

Wow. Are there really four-year-olds out there who can do their own laundry? ;)
I see the same pattern beginning in my home...hmmm, how to nip it now.
You made me laugh today, nodding in sympathy, and then the conclusion was just beautiful. Doesn't necessarily put EVERYthing into perspective, but it surely sheds a pleasant light on it, yes?

Wendy said...

If it makes you feel any better, my four-year-old doesn't do her own laundry and I'd be scared of the outcome if she did.

This posted reminded me of how many times this happened to me and my sisters when we were growing up...something we never did find.

Wendy said...

should say "somethings we never did find."

Anonymous said...

I sang in competition choirs when I was in high school and college and I always wondered at how we got away with singing such spiritual songs! Stuff straight from scripture, and not always in latin either! God will not be forgotten.

Rocks In My Dryer said...

"most of the time they came out clothed"....LOL...Oh, I can relate to that!

Emily said...

Haha, my mom always said she was going to throw out all of my sister's and my clothes if we didn't get our closets organized... somehow never happened ;-)

Um... yeah... definitely didn't learn to do laundry until age 18, as in, the week before I left for college (like, I did ONE LOAD before leaving for college).

The first time my roommate and I did laundry here... we set it to "extra rinse" on the far right side of the dial, because we were like, oh it would be nice to have an extra rinse, right? Of course right! Great, mmhmm, set the dial and pressed start.
The clothes were done 10 minutes later... Wow, this is great, college washers are so fast (yeah, right...)! Hey... how come it doesn't smell clean? Let's try again...
(Repeat last paragraph...)
It took 2 loads, but we finally figured out that "extra rinse" was what it would DO if we set it to that. As in, foregoing the WASHING part. We had neglected to read the rest of the dial which said, you know "Start... Cycle... First Rinse..."

That really had no purpose other than to let you know that despite my lack of laundry skills, I have actually managed to mostly clothe myself this school year, and your children will too. Although I am out of socks right now.

Hope you guys are doing AWESOME!!!

Emily said...

It's Emily Goldberg (from by the way... I think it signed me in on a diff blogger name than the one I usually use on yours.

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Well, my girls help with laundry, but with me overseeing every step in the process. They still can't seem to remember what belongs to who; the 7yo put on the 5yo's clothes this morning and couldn't figure out what the problem was!

She also lost half her PJs to the Goodwill bag last week because her drawer was a complete mess.

I'm ruthless, but I'm definitely not arrogant or proud. I hope I haven't come across that way in past comments, because I really admire the things you accomplish with 5 children!

Anonymous said...

Okay--my kids do do their own laundry but if you saw their drawers you would realize that my standards are LOW. In fact my kids lost 7 large black garbage backs of STUFF that was found on their floors. SEVEN! Most of it clothes, clean clothes which they had supposedly put away! In our house we are lucky if it makes it in the right drawer, and hangers more often get used for project s than clothes.

BTW, Yes, that was my homeschooling blog you found. Thank you. Sorry I didn't get back to you, I was unable to type much for quite a while. :)

Gwen Sirmans (Ivey's Mom) said...

Sounds like you are doing a great job.. You managed to make the laundry dissapear...somewhere.

Anonymous said...

WOW. Our kids help with laundry. Help being the operative word and fairly loosely defined!
The baby went to play in her room after breakfast one morning this week. Not 10 minutes later she appeared and announced "ready for the day". She'd taken her pj pants and nappy off, taken herself potty, and put on some shorts (summer here!) and OK, both legs were through the one leg hole but she was pretty dang pleased with herself!!!
Mel (I don't have a blog, but love reading yours)

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hi Mel,

Thanks for visiting me! That is the cutest story! I'd venture to guess that little one is going to go far in life!

Beck said...

I have a friend with kids who put away their own clothes, or so she says. Clothing here is just one big scary issue.

Deborah said...

Okay, that is just too funny Katherine! It's good to know that I'm not the only one with clothing/laundry issues in their house. Seems like I can never get it under control. It's even worse when the seasons change and the kids are begging for shorts to wear.

When we HSed, my kids did help with laundry. You know, getting clothes from the hamper to the laundry room, sorting, helping to fold, putting away. But it was a stretch. My standards were too high and my kids skills were still very much in the rough. Boy did I have a lot to learn (still do)!

Now that they're in school, I'm left with the help of a 3yo who loves to help Mama put the clothes in the washing machine. He says, "I shub it in," as he leans down into the washer and gets all wet. Today he carried his own socks to his drawer and put them in. So that's all the help I get now!

The kids drawers leave a lot to be desired no matter if I do it, or them. I always blame myself for not being more organized. I think it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Especially come September!

Thanks as always for sharing those everyday moments in your life where God helps you see the bigger picture. What a blessing!

Donna said...

No, my kids do NOT do their own laundry! And, I can totally relate to kid's closets gone astray! You've reminded me that I've GOT to work on that...

Anonymous said...

I've dealt with the bedrooms with wall to wall laundry-carpeting. We came up with a solution, which for older elementary/middle school, works quite well. Both of my older girls have gone through this phase. I chose 7 outfits that would mix & match (include at least one skirt or decent pants for Sunday), 1-2 sets of pajamas, one pair of casual shoes and one pair of dress shoes, and one season-appropriate jacket. Everything was bagged up and taken to my closet to be stored. For one month, she had to keep her room picked up. All laundry was to be washed on Saturday (which, since it was only 6 outfits--was only one load in my front-load machine), and folded/hangered up and put away. One whole month of keeping her clothes picked up. When she was able to keep it up for a month, she got three more outfits back. If she failed to keep it up, I kept the clothes longer. My older girl was in this situation for THREE MONTHS! Now, her room never has clothes on the floor. She is 15 now, however. It gets better! :)