We’re off! In more ways than one!

When the kids were little, we used to make and wear turkey hats, gobbling around the house in an event that’s come to be known as “The Running of the Turkeys.”  Now that the kids are getting older, no one seems as interested in this part of the holiday, except the grown-ups.  Which means it’ll be me and Tom running around in Turkey Hats.  Is that what good parents do, or are we just big turkeys?

thanksgiving-2006-0572

While I’m thinking that through, I’ll share with you these, my Thanksgiving answers:

1)  Absolutely

2)  Both

3)  It was like that when we found it.

4) Family, frends, and you!

 And the questions?

1)  Is it okay to eat pie for breakfast?

2)  White meat or dark meat?

3)  Who broke the wishbone?

4)  What am I most thankful for?

Oh, help me.

I did it again.

I turned the laundry blue.

Laundry is a theme in my life, you know this already if you’ve read Road Map (all the diapers!) or ParentDish (the clothes line! meet me at the clothes line!).  It’s a theme of struggle, really, because for all the hundreds, maybe thousands of loads of wash that I’ve done, I’m still not very good at it.

Kathleen Norris is one of my favorite writers, and one of my favorite books of hers isn’t really even a book at all, but a slim little chapbook called The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work,”and is the text of the 1998 Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality. 

She writes, “Laundry, liturgy and women’s work all serve to ground us in the world, and they need not grind us down.”  She makes a connection between the daily rituals of the human condition, things like eating and bathing and even doing laundry, and prayer.  She explains that in tending to the quotidian, we are also tending to spiritual matters, if we allow it to be so.

But!

What kind of prayer is it if all the whites turn light blue?  What kind of mindfulness am I bringing to my daily routine when the socks have all gone azure?  And why, why can’t I get this figured out?

Which is the reason, when Mom Central announced a blog tour for a new product from Clorox, I asked to be a part of it.  I wanted to get this laundry problem under control.  I wanted whites that were white and colors that were bright, and I figured maybe I needed some new tools to make it happen.

I got my free bottle of Clorox 2X Ultra Stain Fighting Formula and I tossed a capful in the load I’d turned blue.  I closed the lid, set the machine to the wash cycle, and crossed my fingers.  It didn’t seem like a lot to ask, but in the past, when I’d tried to de-blue my blues (and it’s happened more than once), I’d always failed.

When the wash cycle stopped, I hesitated.  Did I really want to see those ruined clothes, staring back at me? Did I really want to look at failure, yet another time?

I forced myself to forge ahead.  In the bottom of the machine, the clothes were waiting for me.  The socks, Avery’s Buzz Lightyear underwear, the little shirt with the frogs on it.  But this time, everything was white!

I’m tempted to call it a miracle, though I know, it’s just laundry.  So I’ll say this:  it feels like a second chance, which is good enough for me.

I have 4 coupons for a free bottle of Clorox 2X Ultra to share, so you can see for yourself.  Let’s try this:  leave your worst laundry incident in the comments (Please?  It’s true, misery loves company) and the top disasters take the prizes.

UPDATED TO ADD:  Thank you, thank you!  You don’t know how much these stories of disaster have warmed my heart…and now, the winners!  Stephanie, of the I-bleached-the-guest-towels-of-my-hostess-by-mistake deserves a special prize all to herself.  And since she doesn’t need Clorox, let me send you a book!  Email me and I’ll give you some choices. 

And, in no particular order, here are the Clorox winners:  Nik’s Mom of Maternal Instincts…Flying By the Seat of My Pants, for “Cold Blood/Hot Sh*t”, which isn’t really a story but an excellent, unforgettable tip; Tricia of Unringing the Bell, for the dead mouse in the machine (yike!) and because she has a new baby at home which means lots of laundry!; Pam and Rhett of Rhett’s Journey, because a WHOLE box of crayons in the washer plus a cat in the dryer is really difficult to top (that Rhett does things BIG!); and Mom24 at 4EverMom, because she’s a laundry queen, and even royalty gets a crayon in their dryer once in a while.

Winners, please send your mailing address to me at jennifergrafgroneberg (at) yahoo.com.  Thanks for the stories, everyone!

On comparing

Bennett: I’m very fond of Avery. (This is Bennett’s new favorite expression. He’s very fond of many things–Bailey and applesauce with cinnamon sugar on top and Scooby-Doo and leaves, raked into a pile, for jumping in.)

Me: I’m very fond of Avery, too.

Bennett: He doesn’t have words like these.

Me: It’s true. Avery doesn’t have as many words as you do.

Bennett: But he talks in sign language, like this. (He signs thank you and thirsty and sorry and book. Then he signs baby, because we all love that one.)

There was a time when a conversation like this might have made me sad. Because, in this conversation, it’s revealed that Avery’s differences are so clear, so much a part of him, they’re even apparant to a five-year-old.

But this exchange didn’t make me feel blue. Instead, it made me feel good, because it meant that Avery’s brothers are able to talk about him, and their perceptions of life with him, without fear or worry. I sometimes envy my kids, because they are growing up with an early understanding that difference isn’t bad, or good, but simply different. And their world is richer for it.

As is mine.

I am better for knowing all of you. (I’m very fond of you!)
I am better for risking my heart.
I am better for loving Avery.

I hold in one hand hand all the good that has come into our lives with Avery’s birth; in the other, all the hard things. Which hand is heavier, which one means more? I don’t have an answer. Everything is connected, there is no one without the other. All I know is that my hands are full, and this fullness feels like life.

Housekeeping, here at Pinwheels…

Back when I started blogging, which was maybe two years ago, there was a blog called Always Chaos, written by the amazing Rebecca. I loved 3 things about this blog: Rebecca’s complete honesty, her beautiful photographs, and her blogroll. For a long time, Rebecca was the “keeper of the DS blogroll” (well not really, I just made up that title and gave it to her now.) She kept us all connected, and was usually the first to comment on a new blogger’s initial posts. And I know lots of people noticed, and appreciated her, and even thanked her for it, but it never hurts to say thank you.  I’ll say it again…thank you!

So when she closed down her blog, she’d send me links when she found them. Places where there were interesting stories about DS, or links to new bloggers just beginning their journeys. I always posted the links here, and added the new bloggers to my blogroll.

But, with one thing or another, her emails to me about blogging matters grew less and less frequent, and my updates to my blogroll came less and less often. Which isn’t a bad thing: there are now lots of places on the web where moms and dads and grandparents are talking about life with Down syndrome. And keeping up with it all is a challenge–of course, a challenge in a good way.

And I’m here to ask for your help: if you’re a new blogger who’d like to be included, or if you know someone who would like to be on the list, let me know? I’ll update my blogroll at the end of the week, because really? I love looking over to the right, and seeing it. It’s why I keep the blogroll going, always on the main page. There are so many of us, so very many, living our lives, loving our kids. For me, it’s powerful. And proof–wherever you are, you’re not alone.