The chairs in the family room are in constant use, their seats warm against the press of pants and careless give of sun-dried towels. There are two of these chairs, set just so to encourage casual conversation while still open to the glow of the fireplace, a request to the piano or whatever is sent from the kitchen. It is a cozy corner, softly lit by stylish lamps and stars of varying distance. The dogs dine there twice daily, the bar against the wall is visited somewhat more so.
These chairs grow heavy beneath the weight of our day, and heavier still the following and again after that. Their comfort is taken for granted and often ignored. They have grown unseen, buried by the wear of the masses.
They offer only sacrifice, appeasing gods cured and laundered, openly mocking the folded as the creases quietly settle in. I stack the freshly spun atop those that were stacked before, and I long to sit upon them. Such are the makings of my daydream.
To be fair, things are getting done. There is a chart on the wall, marked with chores assigned by name, but it has not made contact with a human eye since the ink upon it dried, possibly longer. This is partly due to tasks being known and also those we would deny. Laundry is, obviously, the latter.
Every day, the boys have animals to tend, on both ends, dishes to wash and dry, and rugs to vacuum. Then there are other jobs that go forgotten until, magically, the hundredth utterance of them flickers light bulbs above their respective heads. Those tasks are then done quickly in full half-ass fashion, and upon a parenting review, again but with feeling. It is dance with consequence, and the boys know all the steps.
Chores teach responsibility, empathy and teamwork. Also, how to yell at the people you love despite everyone accepting the inevitable, an underrated skill that will serve children well come the ghosts of Thanksgiving future and the politics they discover.
And still, I wash load after load, drying some on the line and some by machine, depending on the garment and the spin of the season. Then they are placed upon the chairs in the family room, and they are left to die.
Why is it, no matter how well-oiled, family mechanics always seem to break down somewhere? Ours pile upon the chairs, and the blame is flung everywhere, fierce and freely.
Yet, the laundry unites us, too. In our collective denial we are bound together, and while the path there is littered with single socks and broken hangers, we walk it all the same. At some point, after a few days of digging through piles of clean clothes to find our outfits, our outfit stands at attention (because there is no place to sit), and we chat, we laugh, we fold. Closets fill, chairs empty, and the chores of a family are all related.
The chairs never get their hopes up.