Most of us held our children as new-born babies and made solemn promises to be the best parents they could wish for.
Unfortunately, I’ve discovered life gets in the way of that promise, but I like to think it’s the thought that counts.
After two decades parenting my children, they have yet to believe, even for a few moments, that I am ‘mother of the year’ material.
In my defence, I tried but things can go very wrong.
Take last week for example.
For seven days I’d been looking at a full laundry basket of dark clothes. I could have washed them any day, but I didn’t.
Among the many items were work clothes for one member of my family who would not require them until Saturday.
‘Lots of time,’ I thought every day as I ignored its overflowing contents.
Except there wasn’t because three days before my imagined deadline the worker announced: “I’ve been asked to work tonight. Is my uniform clean?”
“What? No, not tonight?”
As I apologised profusely the worker hid her dismay well.
I could have left it there, allowed her go to work in an unclean uniform, but no, being the wonderful, caring, kind mother I am, I decided, as there were a full two hours to go before she had to leave, I’d hand wash everything and put them in the dryer. Wouldn’t that be a lovely surprise?
So I dug out her work clothes from the bottom of the overflowing basket and had a look at them. Maybe I’d only wash the one item that was the worse for wear? No, in for a penny, in for a pound, I’d do the lot.
I filled the sink, adding a little too much washing powder so there were suds aplenty, and I scrubbed and rinsed and squeezed until my fingers cramped. Yet despite my ringing and squeezing everything remained soaked.
A tiny worry crept over me as I glanced at the clock. One hour and 45 minutes to go. Was this possible? Of course, it was if I spun the soaking clothes in the washing machine? That would surely whip the wet off them before finishing them in the dryer?
So I pressed the spin cycle on the machine and went about my business.
Minutes later, I passed by only to discover the uniform was indeed spinning but in a machine full of water. I’d pressed a full wash programme in error.
Panic was beginning to affect my breathing. I’d to wait an eternity for the water to empty, before pouncing to turning the machine off, and another minute for the door to open.
I wondered at the strength of my deodorant as my body temperature rose to fever pitch, while all the time an inner voice deafened me: ‘You’re dead when she finds out’.
Finally, I removed the clothes. If it were possible they were now even wetter than before entering the machine.
There was all of one hour and 30 minutes left to discovery. Surely a dryer can dry four items of clothing in that time?
Well, in case any of you are ever in this same position, let me make you fully aware that no, a dryer cannot. As the worker came face to face with the hot, sodden clothes I had to confess what I’d done.
I’d like to tell you she had a clean spare uniform but by the look on her face, I suspect she had not.
I’d also like to tell you I hung around to find out what substituted, but again I cannot as immediately after my confession I hid until she was gone.
But surely it was the thought that counts?
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved