Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Romance of Ordinary Things

The other day, I was taking laundry off the line and folding it into a basket when I stopped and caught my eyes tingling a little.   

I suddenly remembered a moment of despair years ago. Then, I also was folding laundry and talking to a friend on the phone at the same time.  I was crying, my tears wetting the T-shirt I'd just pulled out of the dryer, and told her that I would never get to marry the guy of my dreams, that I would never get to do our laundry and our babies' laundry - as opposed to just my - single, lonely - laundry.

It turned out I was wrong.  I've folded tons of laundry since then.  Mine, his, ours, theirs, you name it, I've hung it out, ironed and folded it. 

Housekeeping isn't high on my list of favorite things to do, but somehow I don't mind the wash, even though these days, I'm not the one doing it the most often.  I like folding our family's clothes.  I think back to that breakdown years ago pretty often - and I'm grateful each time I put away our clean laundry: grateful for the clothes, grateful for the people in my life that wear them.  And when I see that someone has done the same for me, and even taken care to put my clothes back in the cupboard, not any which way, but exactly in the order that I (neurotically) like them, I feel cherished.

Funnily enough, the best advice I ever got from my mother-in-law was about the wash.  She told me early on that one of the things she'd had to learn in her marriage was not to complain when her husband did the laundry - and did it wrong - but to focus on the fact that he'd done it and appreciate the fact that meant she didn't have to.  (Of course, that's not so easy to stick to when you then waste the next few hours trying to rescue a load of whites that turned blue ... but definitely worth the effort of keeping one's mouth shut!)

I'm not the only one who finds romance in ordinary things. A friend of mine - who lectures extensively on relationships - confided the other day that one of the biggest "love potions" for her is when she comes home late to discover her husband has emptied out the dishwasher.  She'll pull open the machine to start her least favorite household chore and when she discovers he's beat her to it, she'll just stand there amazed at the waves of love for him that just wash through her and how, at that moment, she'd be willing to do almost anything for him that he might wish for! 

Another friend is a widow whose husband died of leukemia in his forties, leaving her with eight children.  She's often told me that since then, winter is the hardest time for her emotionally, especially when it snows.  When her husband was alive, he would leave early in the mornings for the hospital where he was a doctor.  She wouldn't leave the house to go to work until all the kids had left for school.  But when she'd get to her car, it would have been scraped clean of ice, shoveled out - and the engine warmed for her.  Her kids do the shoveling now, or she does.  And it doesn't take that long to let her car engine warm up.  But it's the love behind the gesture she misses.  What he did for her each winter morning wasn't anything she wouldn't have done for herself, but the few minutes he took to do it made her feel beloved all day long - and still have the power to make her feel that way.

As time goes on, I realize that, more than candlelit dinners and tropical getaways - and I'm all for those! - it's the ordinary chores of daily living that can hold the most enduring testaments of love.  

The wonderful thing about that is we have it in our power to transform each ordinary day into one of lasting romance.

Milou Koenings writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.  

Her novel, Reclaiming Home, A Green Pines Romance, is available at Amazon
You can find her on her website, www.miloukoenings.com, on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.


  1. That's sweet. I'm still waiting to be able to do someone else's laundry, lol

  2. Absolutely beautiful. It is the romance in the ordinary moments that makes life so sweet!