My mom had a 5th kid that everyone knew about, but no one ever talked about. This child lived shut away in the downstairs spare bedroom like some dark and dirty secret. Except it wasn’t a dark dirty secret.
It was one of my mom’s beloved children, and if you knew my mom, then you know that she loved ALL OF HER CHILDREN.
This 5th kid’s name was Klean Laundry. Must have been female because the name Klean stacked up nicely with the rest of the girls’ names – Katie, Kristin, Kelly – and not so much with our brother’s name – Andrew.
Klean Laundry had fleeting staycations in different parts of the house, and maybe even landed by our backyard pool every now and then, but above all, she loved her room. Who wouldn’t love the prime real estate of the first-floor room in a two-story house with a quick exit out the garage or front door? She loved just lying atop her cozy pull-out couch and didn’t care if she ever left.
My mom loved spending time with her in the wee hours of the morning before the other kids got up. She and my mom only ever had irreconcilable differences in the presence of overnight guests. Accusing her of appearing slovenly, my mom would kick her out to greener pastures and then readmit her once the time was right.
We kids really could take Klean or leave her. Until we found out that if we were spending quality time with her – sorting, folding, or ironing – then we could watch TV in her room.
Two important things about this privilege. 1: Klean Laundry didn’t really care if we just sat next to her or actually sorted, folded, or ironed. 2: Klean Laundry never tattled – she was awesome in that sense.
I must say that Klean Laundry was pretty indifferent to the vital education we provided her through the quality programming we chose. MTV shows like “Real World” and “Road Rules” and the emotional depth of teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were completely lost on her. On weekends, we upped our game and even let her watch Lifetime movie marathons…she had a great life.
Now that I’m a wife and responsible mom of two, guess who has been crashing our house with a vengeance? I’ll give you a hint. She bears a striking resemblance to my long lost sister with her clean smell and frat boy tendencies of passing out cold on OUR BED. She’s pesky and ALWAYS WANTS ATTENTION.
You got it folks. My very own third child, Clean Laundry. She came with a surprise, though. An evil fraternal twin. His name is Dirty Laundry.