21 July 2010


We don't iron in this house unless we have to. In fact, this morning, as hubby took off for New York, I found myself in the basement ironing a pair of khakis, a crisp blue striped shirt and an old Ralph Lauren gingham check that is so old - and so soft and nice - that I remember borrowing it and wearing it a lot when Enzo was first born - kudos to Ralph cuz it still looks good :-).

As I ironed, I remembered waaay back - when I was 15 years old or so... I was busy with ballet 6 days a week - I had recently tried out for and made cheerleading in order to make friends at my new, huge high school (no gymnastics team at this one), and I was in a number of Honors classes, including a French class in which I was the only one from my class - everyone else a year or two older. My Mom had begun rollerskating with the neighbors for exercise. When I look back, she was youthful for her age - and young - only in her forties - AND a much better skater than I could ever be; she went backwards, sideways, skated fast, stopped short.... Anyway, one day she fell and broke her wrist. After that, for a couple of months, while she healed, I picked up the slack on a lot of her household duties. I did the dishes (my Dad would help - but he traveled a lot) - I put away the laundry - I vacuumed - I cooked - and, most stand-out in my mind, is how I ironed. I ironed with my Mom standing over me to check my work. And this woman ironed EVERYTHING - from pocket "hankies" to sheets and jeans. Ever frugal, she never had my Dad's shirts laundered (and he wore a suit to work everyday), so I would spray and starch and iron over and over and over again. My brothers, who were not involved in sports or outside activities and took middle level or remedial classes at school, did nothing but watch TV and make fun of me. When I would get upset, my mother would remind them that I had no sense of humor so they should stop. I guess, in hindsight, being called a fat slave or having the dish towels snapped at me while they yelled "work - work!" and laughed is kinda funny... really a good time (and, remember, I have no sense of humor so any attempts at sarcasm here or hints at being funny are purely in your head ;-). I was so tired. I got a "D" on French test, my new cheerleading friends were mad at me and talking dumping me from the squad, AND I lost a lot of Saturdays trying to catch up on my ironing. It sucked (for the record, when my parents moved to Europe a few years later - and.... when my brothers returned to the states to attend college, they bought them a condo, filled a bank account for them and gave them ATM cards, hired a cleaning AND a laundry service for them - Are they better for it? NO. Joke is no longer on me - though, obviously, my irritation lingers).

So ... I do not iron. I see no point. We are a wash and wear family AND we do launder hubby's dress shirts AND anything lovely and designer that we purchase, we do NOT trust to our own unskilled hands - we dry clean - AND we look for good places. Today, however, I was happy to do it for hubby. He would do the same for me (scandalous in my Mom's eyes, I realize - but we have a scandalous past of hubby making lunch for my daughter because he had a home office and I traveled a lot and had to be downtown in my office everyday - HE drove her to the pool, filled out her school forms, etc. - even cooked - gasp).

As is the case with my serendipitous life, I have been thinking on this time in my life a lot recently. Don't know why. Maybe because I see Olivia and her friends as already pretty self-actualized young women - into sports - close friendships and their own personal style (Olivia does not believe me that my Mom really has told me to "not allow" her to use a straightening iron on her curly / wavy hair - and has even suggested taking it from her - AND, further, would have taken it from me and threatened counseling if I took it back or bought another - wait... I was never allowed to have my own money, so... scratch that last bit).

So... what is my duty these days? Not sure, truthfully. I just had an early morning conversation with hubby - wee hours really (still have the insomnia - though am implementing some "cures", as I said - give it time...). I often feel lost. Sometimes, I even compare myself to the other women with whom he works - an ex-dancer living the single life in NYC - an Italian model and Flash programmer who drives a motorcycle - two women who own and operate publications - more.... Seriously - I mean WHY would I make ANY of that up, right? And... here I am. STILL trying to find what I do best. Do you guys ever feel that way? I mean, we all do, but....

Photo: Some brightness on a cloudy day - my Olivia with Taylor Lautner (on her way to stalk him with friends - picture is for the autograph they were hoping to get - oh.... we'll find him. Don't you worry :-)... or a photo, rather. BTW - he was spotted at the Waterfront PF Chang's recently.... like... um.... eating. OMG.

1 comment:

Sue said...

I may wonder if ironing shirts, mowing the lawn or making cupcakes is as worthy as _________ (fill in the blank).
I'm cool with it, proud of it, sometimes weird about it, but satisfied ... like you seem to be.