When I look back on this time in my life, one thing I will remember is the endless piles of clothes.
There's laundry, of course- there's always laundry, and I expected that. A person doesn't have four children without a fair amount of washing, drying and folding to do. What I didn't expect was the constant wardrobe changing. The twins each change clothes multiple times a day. Between sensory issues ("My sleeve is wet! I can't stand it! I have to chaaaaaange!") and the routine dramatization of fairy tales, Egyptian and Greek myths, and Star Wars ("I'm Princess Leia! Now I'm Cleopatra's mummy! Now I'm Terpsichore!"), there are a lot of shirts, pants, socks, skirts, dresses, togas, capes, and crowns being constantly taken on and off around here.
This past week, I did what I've come to call the hand-me-down shuffle...that intensive operation of moving the giant Rubbermaid bins in from the shed to go through all the clothes for the coming season while removing all the past season's clothes from the closets. Everything has to be tried on. Everything has to be washed. Things are sorted into piles- Will Happily Wear, Doesn't Want to Wear (but will have to wear anyway), Will Never Wear (even under pain of death). We stuff things into bags to donate and put clothes for younger siblings to grow into back into those big gray bins. We haul the bins back out to the shed. It feels endless and exhausting and like the whole world is temporarily turned upside down. I quietly grumble and roll my eyes about it. I repeatedly pull children out of the bins and prevent them from putting the lid on the bin with the baby inside ("Can't you see that picture on the lid? It clearly says not to put the lid on the box while a baby is in there!") and wish it were all over sooner.
As I finished putting away the last load of newly washed/dried/folded new (to us) fall clothes from the shed this weekend, I wondered what would happen if I just embraced this season? This process can be a pain in the neck, to be sure. When I think about the girls' excitement at pulling out the piles of tights, skirts, sweaters, and leggings from those bins, though, how they jump up and down and even fight over the clothes they discover, it brings a smile to my face. I'm sure a time will come where they'll be less thrilled about this hand-me-down process than I am.
Maybe instead of internally complaining, I should allow myself to catch some of their infectious enthusiasm...and maybe I will. (Next spring.) For now, I'm putting my feet up and taking a well-earned break from the clothing shuffle.
Find the rest of my 31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes here.