There are some things you might not think about fostering.
Like how when a new kid comes, everything they bring has to be washed and disinfected.
Hard work, you might think, but not such a big deal, you say.
Except for when you go through four new kids in two weeks.
And every load of laundry washing new-kid clothes is a load of already-here-kid laundry piling up.
Last night I did laundry for three hours straight!
I don’t mean it was going while I was doing other stuff.
I mean straight up sorting, folding, and hanging up.
Tonight I did another four hours of laundry, after deep cleaning the kitchen and sweeping all the floors while the kids cleaned their bedrooms.
Four hours of more sorting, folding, hanging up, and finally getting to put it all away.
The only break I got was delousing the new baby again after a visit, so that was exciting.
Oh, and that meant more laundry, because everything (including bedding and car seats) had to be re-laundered, just in case.
I also had to go earlier today, after delivering kids all morning for visits, pediatrician appointments, and lawyer meetings, and back home again for DHS worker visits, and go get clothes for Three because he didn’t actually have any. He came with mismatched 2T stuff because he is so tiny, and we have 4T from Five when he first came, but Three is finally starting to gain weight and soon will grow fast and it is cold and he had no long sleeves, pants, or 3T clothes. He also needed underwear and socks. It is so hard when they come and start from scratch!
So today was not at all what I expected, and I was glad to even get my notes and collateral contacts done for work. But everyone got where they needed to go, everyone now has plenty of clothes, everyone has jackets, coats, hats, mittens, undershirts, underwear, footie pjs, shoes, and nobody has lice. Today.
I guess, when it was all finally done, and my feet hurt too much to pull off my shoes, and my body was too tired to pull on my own pajamas, and my eyes too heavy to try and wait for Nathan to get home from symphony rehearsal… I guess it was one of those moments when I felt like maybe I am a mom after all, if all I got done today was laundry, and it took all day, and no one will even care or notice.
Except for that favorite Spider-Man shirt Five had been waiting for.
And that long-sleeve blue shirt I promised Three.
And that dress a friend gave Six, the one she would wear every day if I could get it clean fast enough.
Or the Toddler’s favorite “my grandma shirt” that Nathan’s mom gave her.
That’s my token of love, a quiet one, while they aren’t looking, these little clothes clean and put away and ready for them to have a wear like happy, healthy, provided for children that have sufficient for their needs.
It’s not just that we have so many kids that makes laundry so hard.
It’s that they are all the same size!
Except for the items I can pull out of the stack by color or by glitter, I almost have to check the tags on everything to be able to get it sorted right. I am fast at it, with so much practice, but laundry sure is harder when it’s tiny and inside out and tangled with everything else and the same size as all the other pieces.
The only thing worse?
With two boys and three girls, and two older ones and three younger ones, everyone just almost wears the same size socks – except not, and just not-enough that I have to figure out which socks are which.
This is my nightmare, like the dessert of a meal you didn’t order, like the final yards of a race where you can see the finish line but it is way further than it looks.
Or maybe like how you get nitrous at the dentist because you are a big ole whimp, and they are afraid of you so give you lots, except then they always turn it off before they actually get their hands out of your mouth, so that you wake up to the nightmare they promised to help you avoid.
Or how you survive cancer just so you can fold laundry all day.
It’s just not right, folks.
But it is necessary, and so I am diving in to the sock basket (mostly because it may be true that three of the five kids wore their last pair today).
I needed you to know, just in case I don’t make it back out again.