Never Finish the Ironing
Never finish the ironing. That’s a caution I’ve lived by for many years. Where did this saying come from? Let me try to explain. After my first child was born, I suffered from what they would now call post-partum depression. All I knew then was that I was totally exhausted , and while I could take care of my baby, I couldn’t do much else. I did only the most essential housework, and the task I neglected most was ironing . This being 1961, permanent press had yet to be introduced so sheets, shirts, blouses, even handkerchiefs, piled up in a portable bassinet in the closet.
Then, blessedly, one day, without explanation, the dark cloud lifted, and I slowly began to catch up with my life. I saved the ironing for last, but when I finally finished the last piece, I was so proud and excited I put the empty bassinet on the path to the front door so my then-husband couldn’t possibly miss the accomplishment.
For about two weeks I enjoyed cooking and baking again, hemming clothes, long walks with my son in his stroller . Then, out of the blue came a period of sickness and death in my birth family that rocked me to the very core. Of course I knew there was no direct connection, but I couldn’t help thinking , “I should never have finished the ironing.” Over the years I’ve realized the real problem was the smugness I felt when the ironing was done. “OK, now I’m back on track, back in control.” But I’ve learned over and over , as someone else once pointed out, control is only an illusion, so I remind myself of this by saying “Never finish the ironing.”
© Dorothy C. Judd
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