Monday, January 23, 2012


Okay, let's start with a true statement: I hate to iron!

I can remember watching my mother iron my father's shirts when I was a little girl. I would beg her to let me iron something. Rather than risk his dress shirts, she would give me a stack of pillowcases to iron. Granted, most people don't iron their bed linens ~ I don't, anyway ~ but it was really good practice for this little 6 to 8 year old girl. No worries about scorch marks or imperfect creases or ironed in wrinkles.

As I grew older, I became responsible for ironing my own clothes. No problems there, because I didn't wear many things that required ironing. The occasional blouse or skirt. Then, when I was in high school, I started asking my mother to make my clothes. (She was an awesome seamstress!) The deal was that I would pin the pattern, cut the pieces, and pin the pieces together before she sewed the garment. After the garment was finished, I hemmed it, sewed on any buttons, and pressed the finished item.

At some point, I started being responsible for ironing Daddy's work shirts. He had to wear a dress shirt and tie to work each day, and I had to iron them. Even when I was away at college, when I came home on the weekends, I ironed his shirts.

Ironing one of Daddy's shirts ~ about 1985-1986.
This is one of my Daddy's favorite pictures.
Somewhere between begging to be allowed to iron and ironing now, I grew to hate the task. Now, I don't mind ironing a single piece here and there with ample notice that it will be needed. But to iron a whole basket of shirts that will end up squished into the closet and getting wrinkled again? I don't think so!

So, I was ironing this afternoon. Ken got several new shirts for Christmas and I washed them. Then they needed to be ironed. *sigh* So I decided to do a couple of them. While I was ironing, I thought of my mother. My mother used to tell me that when she was a girl, she would iron shirts for her older brothers for a little spending money. With twelve children ~ yes, 12! ~ my grandmother made everyone responsible for his or her own laundry and ironing as soon as each was old enough. My mother was apparently an incredible ironer - three of her four older brothers would pay her to iron their shirts! Wow! (The oldest brother was in the military and no longer living at home.)

Then, I thought of all the shirts that my mom has ironed so lovingly for my dad. And I realized that I had been given that same opportunity to do something with love for my own husband. I resolve to try to make ironing less of a chore and more of an act of love.

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