Monthly Archives: August 2012

My Last “First Day”

This week I experienced my last “first day.” My twin sons are high school seniors. I’ve already watched as their older sisters fluttered out of our nest and survived the past year of being the only female at home. I think I held my own with the practical jokes—I think my best was basting shirt sleeves together to surprise them on a skiing youth group trip—and I’ve learned to wield a Nerf gun pretty well when a Nerf war breaks out in our house.

I’ve managed as my hands-on-mothering job has down-sized by focusing on new pursuits such as the writing journey I’m on, but I’m wondering how next year will be with no one here except my husband. It reminds me of the year I turned twenty-five. That milestone didn’t make me sad, but thinking ahead to year twenty-six turned on the melancholy.

That’s what happening to me now. I’m wondering about next year. I didn’t cry at senior picture day, or when the photos arrived in the mail, or during the senior breakfast on the first day of school. (Some parents have confessed that they did.) Every now and then, however, my mind races ahead, and I think about the future.

One night when the boys were out, my husband and I ate dinner alone. The house was quiet, and although he had his mouth closed, I could hear him chewing. My future flashed before me, and it wasn’t a future filled with lectures, concerts, or plays—suggestions I’d made to other depressed empty-nesters. It was one with the sound of my husband’s chewing.

Maybe we’ll start listening to music during dinnertime.

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Drying on the Line

Yesterday was a rainy day—not just thunderstorms-in-the-afternoon rainy but dripping-from-morning-till night wet. In the middle of a North Carolina August, that’s wonderful for our thirsty crops and shrinking ponds, but it’s bad news if you like to dry clothes outside.

I love the smell of laundry dried on the line, especially sheets. That scent ranks with freshly mowed grass, watermelon, and honeysuckle as one of my favorites of summer.

I don’t mind the extra time and effort it takes because I’m saving money and electricity, lowering our carbon footprint, and saving wear and tear on our clothes.  Urban friends have shared that their neighborhoods don’t allow laundry to be hung outside. (By the way, with the going-green movement, shouldn’t clothes lines raise property values instead of lowering them?) At my rural home, I don’t have a homeowner’s association that considers clothes lines unsightly.  I mainly hear positive comments:  “I wish I had time to hang out clothes;”  “I love the smell of clothes dried outside;” or “Sunshine works wonders for making whites white.”

I have sweet memories of my grandmother teaching me the right way to hang up men’s shirts—by the bottom to save the neckline, of taking chairs outside so that my young children could reach the clothes pins, of one of my daughters teasing her twin brother with, “You smell like you just fell off Grandmommy’s clothes line!” when he wore a freshly dried t-shirt.

I’m glad I have a dryer as a backup for rainy days or for things that have to be dried ASAP.  But I’m glad, too, that I’ve got a clothesline and the time to use it.