I heard my mother come out of my mouth yesterday.
Ben was folding laundry. He did… a terrible job. Sure, he’s only eleven but it was bad. Each piece of laundry was taken out of the dryer and then simply piled on top. In clumps.
Ben, this is awful, I said. You have to fold the clothes, here, like this, and I proceeded to show him how, repeating over and over how badly he had done the job the first time. How the clothes would be wrinkled, need to be ironed. How much more effort would need to be put into it by not doing it right the first time.
I heard my mother’s voice. Sara, you have to fold the clothes. And yes, I want my underwear folded, too.
I thought she was nuts. Who folds underwear?
I’m sure Ben thinks I’m nuts. Who cares if a tee shirt is folded?
What bothered me wasn’t so much that I had to show him how to fold clothes again- for about the tenth time- but that my mother’s voice came out of my mouth.
His response, along with eye rolling, was to claim, I didn’t know!
I find myself trying to be fair about this. Trying to find a frame to say my mother was kind in heart and doing the best she could. Deep down? I’m still hurt. Hurt by the constant reminders of how imperfect I was. How many times I failed to be good enough. A stupid comment about laundry still surfaces thirty-five years later.
And comes back at my son. Full force. Loaded with venom.
Stupid, folded laundry.