At the advent of swimming season this year I considered my options for sanity and decided that one way I could save on a lot of laundry would be to buy each child a vastly different print of beach towel so that there can be no question of whose is whose. If you are wrapped in the one with gaudy pineapples and it belongs to your sister, you are out of line. Yours has palm trees. Even the most absent minded can remember that, even though you apparently cannot remember that white bath sheets do not ever go to the pond bank, not even when Mama isn’t looking. What’s more, I can tell at a glance who hasn’t hung up their towel to dry because there are no hibiscus flowers on the line.
There was a day of intermittent showers and sunshine, the kind of day where raindrops just squirted out of the sky with little warning. The children had a blast dancing through the puddles and wiping out in the grass. I looked on indulgently because this is a rite of childhood, after all.
Suddenly everybody was chilly. The beach towels, one for each child, their assigned towel to take care of and hang up to dry after every wet episode… Well, they were all either hanging on the clothesline or sprawled across our canoe trailer from the swim in the lake the night before. Five bath towels got handed out and everybody dried off. I failed to make sure that all these towels got hung on hooks. They didn’t. After all, we have plenty of floor for towel disposal and I, the mother, was retreating for an hour to read and relax behind a locked door.
There was a knock on the door. “It quit raining! May we go swimming in the pond? It’s really warm. We checked. Please???” All five scampered off, little ones dragging life jackets and what was that I saw draped around their necks? MORE TOWELS? Clean bathroom towels for drying off from the pond? But the beach towels, one for each child, their assigned towel to take care of and hang up to dry… They were undeniably wet from hanging on the line during the rain.
I sighed and gave it up. The only way this can kill you, lady, is if you knuckle under and let it smother you, after all. I saw myself, one feeble arm reaching out from a mountain of soggy terry cloth. “Help!”
No, I am tougher than that. I would remain chill about it.
An hour later they all trooped up on the deck. “We’re cold! Can we have baths?”