There’s only one thing worse than realizing you have been fooled… It’s realizing it took you longer than expected to realize that the fooling had taken place.
When my children were infants I remember meticulously washing their tiny, super-soft clothing and bedding separately; of course using Dreft. I wouldn’t have dared to wash their innocent clothing with what the rest of us brought home on ours, from the world outside. I was only comfortable with our own personal germs.
At some point, I don’t really remember when, their newness would wear off, just like new a car, and I’d begin washing all of our clothing together. I’d of course separate my whites from my darks and would never wash dedicates with what I like to call “hard pants”.
This never really happened with my girls, but there came a day when I remember not wanting my clothes to be washed with Harrison’s. If there was a public floor to whaler on; he did. It wasn’t uncommon for me to have to dump out his laundry hamper to free it from leaves, small sticks, and fine dirt that collected from the dust off his clothes. At night in the bathtub, he’d kick back and have a little smile on his face when his tub water was particularly dingy. It seemed to me kind of like validation that he had truly had a day as great as it had seemed.
This controversy was first evident when I threw his “white” socks in the same pile with my crisp, white, spring capris and I noticed a drastic difference in their pre-washed, dirty whiteness. I’d question myself, “should his socks go in the dark pile because that’s how they start out or should they go in the whites because that’s how I hope they turn out?” One thing I knew was clear, if I did keep washing his “white” socks with my white capris, there would be no question whether these pants would be fashionably acceptable to wear after Labor Day.
(hands he had supposedly washed)
So one day, I watched the Clorox commercial for the last time before getting up off the couch and writing “Clorox” on my grocery list. Their whites were so white and they seemed so happy! I had to get in on the secret! Why had my mother never used bleach?
My mother is a bonafide laundry specialist. Some would even say a “Stainmaster”. All she needed to know was what, what, and when and she could get it out. The who would be obvious when I handed her the favorite article of clothing. In my frustration I usually offered the unnecessary where and why sounding something like, “we were trying to have a nice meal out and he wanted spaghetti but I suggested chicken tenders since he was wearing a white shirt. However, to avoid an argument I gave in. Now look who is paying the price because he wasn’t paying attention of course.” What Part A= substance that caused the stain. What Part B= what treatments have been tried yet failed. Finally, when=how old was the stain. The Stainmaster made it clear and did not guarantee any results from her work if the item had been dried. We all knew this up front as we delivered a beloved item to her door step with hopes that she could do her magic.
My first week with this magical solution was just that…MAGICAL! I was in awe after my first couple loads. My whites were so bright! I felt like I was on the Clorox commercial! Why did my mother, the laundry specialist, not use this amazing solution! It seems like the answer to all my dingy problems. It didn’t even seem to bother me, like it had in the past, when I had one sock left over without a match. It was so white I couldn’t help but love it sitting on top of my dryer…waiting. I found myself flitting around the house singing, ” Just a cup full of Clorox help my whites come out briiiiiiggghhht, my whites come out briiiiiight. (Of course since I played trombone for 5 years I never miss out on the opportunity to sing in a long trombone slide and gave briiiiiigggghhhhhht an extra long slide.)
I had my first mishap during my second week with Clorox. It was far from stopping me, however, from regular use. My respect for this potent cleaning solution was simply raised. I inadvertently splashed one of my favorite shirts with it and the beautiful blue color vanished before me in minutes. Before placing my beloved shirt in the yard-work wearing pile I attempted to artistically spritz my shirt with Clorox in the garage; hoping to create a masterpiece but ultimately just learning a lesson. I do now have some sweet yard working attire.
It was in the third week I began to discover some of the repercussions of Clorox. When Harrison ran quickly, his socks began to slide down his legs and blouse at the ankle; like you do after tucking in your shirt. By the fourth week, however, they simply draped over his tennis shoes and flowed gracefully like a white tablecloth at a beautiful outdoor wedding. I wasn’t singing anymore as I filled my children’s sock drawers with bright white “quitters”; a perfectly coined term from my brother-in-law. I could no longer bear to watch my son struggle, holding these little white bags in place on his 6-year-old foot until he had them secured with his tennis shoes. I found myself warning Rick to not apply the usual amount of tension to his white undershirts when tucking them in. They were only one wash away from becoming mesh like and without the most tender care the body would surely separate from the reinforced crew-neck.
I was near rock bottom and my family had become the victims of my desire to appear sparkly white…..to feel perfect…..in at least one area of my life. After of course trying to blame or ridicule the person who came up with the brilliant idea to make socks, of all things, white or the Clorox Company itself, I humbly realized that I… had been fooled and it took me longer than I’m proud of to realize it had happened.
Since we’re talking about laundry, I don’t think it’s necessary to hang all your “dirty” out on the line for everyone to see. Nor do I believe you should ever quit trying to improve and grow. I just think it is easy to forget that we all have dingy white socks as well as less than pristine children, marriages, or _________. You fill it in. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel secure or comfortable, or do the job well most of the time. I’ve learned that making perfection your goal can slowly but surely destroy your tensile strength or elasticity; weakening your integrity or ability to bounce back or even create an overwhelmed quitter.
So today I’m going to replace all our white quitters with life camouflaging black, navy, or khaki ones, that don’t fatigue when my son runs. A simple fix for a silly problem. I’m going to try to view the dirt or imperfections in my life as evidence in the bathtub water that it truly had been as good as it had seemed.
Do someone a favor today…be real.
It might just be the magical solution to help them manage their “whites”.
Good thing for me he chooses navy and khaki over white when he dresses himself! SHAZAMMM! What a looker 😉