South London Photographer: I’ve done all the laundry; what can this possibly mean?

Something very strange indeed is happening in my world. It’s most perplexing and disorientating, I can tell you. Try as I might I can’t quite get to the bottom of it, although in one real and certain sense ‘to the bottom of it’ I have without any doubt arrived.

You see, I have washed everything in my laundry basket. Yes, everything! And now, for the first time in I do not know how long, it stands empty in my bedroom waiting (neither patiently nor impatiently for it is just a basket) to be overflowing again. I do not recall when last that was the case!

How did this happen? I have absolutely no idea, other than I know I must surely have washed everything in it. Not only have I washed it all, I have put most of the clean laundry away too. Which is even stranger.  No more scrabbling through piles of clothes to find a pair of matching socks in the morning – well, for a day or two at least.

I can only think it must have something to do with the very tangible state of transition we are in the middle of. My friend swears its something to do with Jupiter being in conjunction with Venus.  I think that’s a load of twoddle myself, but certainly – so, so much is changing at the moment, or about to change, and what that seems to mean for me, other than lots of clean laundry, is a great deal of emotional weeping on my part…

Son No 1 is about to finish primary school. I went to his Yr. 6 final production the other night.  I did, I’m pleased to say, manage to stop myself from just lying down on the floor in front of the stage and howling extremely loudly. I could not quite believe that all those little people, most of whom I taught drama to for a few weeks when they were in reception, were all so terribly grown-up already, not quite the maniacal mini apes they once seemed.  I must add that that experience 7 years ago elicited in me an overwhelming and immense respect for the real teachers of those little, terribly cute but barely human, and somewhat maniacal, hairless chimps.  The other night though, I felt so proud of them all.  And of course, proud most of all of my own crazy, beautiful, intelligent and belligerent Son No 1.  Even as I type my eyes well up. He’s about to embark on a whole new chapter in his life and despite the fact he drives me truly, absolutely spare I am so proud of how he seems to be navigating this huge transition in his life.

Then there was Son No 2’s end of term assembly. Son No 2, whom I think has always been a little overwhelmed by his older brother, hiding in or rather hidden by his shadow, gives me the impression he feels able to venture out of it, perhaps because said older brother is heading off and leaving some space for No 2 to find his light. For the first time he had several lines in the play, which he was very chuffed with. I loved that he looked at me every time he spoke, proudly showing off his newfound and growing confidence. There I was sitting on a plastic school chair in the upstairs hall, in maternal tears again, and the wonderful Mrs.B, who had been at the Yr.6 play as well smiled sympathetically at me – honestly, Mrs. B, I never used to be this emotional. I don’t know what’s come over me!

I don’t actually have time to get teary over Son No 3. I’m too busy trying to keep up with him. He too is heading for a major change having just finished at his nursery school. “I’m on my summer holidays now” he routinely boasts to his brothers, who aren’t yet. But in September he will go to big boys school and jolly excited about it he is too, although I’m not sure he will be quite so enamoured by the full days once he realises what that actually entails. I’m also hoping that his obsessive Spiderman-costume-wearing phase will be over by then because it’s going to be quite trying tearing it off him every morning to get him in a school uniform if not. Not that there will be anything left of it by then. He currently wears nothing else so it’s very quickly disintegrating, made as it is of cheap nylon.

I guess that might be one reason I have managed to get through all the washing. His refusal to wear anything else certainly means there is less laundry being generated.

Summer must have something to do with it as well.  We all wear less and I’m loving the weather we’re having.  It makes me ride my bike more and even though my mother told me I look weird with my pre-Raphaelite curls and a safety helmet that looks like something from Star Wars (I did have it on backwards at the time and I’m sure it did look weird and so probably did all the people who smiled at me that morning) I don’t really care about how I look on it. Goodness, Spiderman sits behind me in his bike chair pulling up my shirt, showing off my greying underwear to the world and I tend to have my skirt hoiked in my knickers.  What difference does a weird headdress make? The photo at the top of the page was taken one of my lovely evening bike rides last week (thanks mother for making that possible) where I think I managed to get the helmet on the right way round.

Is my laundry boon simply down to summer or is there something else going on here, I wonder? You see, I too am on the brink of a new stage and feel I have a little more space for now (in my head at least) but maybe that also means a little more time. Son No 3 is now most definitely no longer a baby and I’ve never got to this point with a small person and not had another on the way. I have also come to the end of the module I was studying, well, apart from some reading I need to get sorted before embarking on the next. All of which is a good thing because more work is coming in and by September I hope to have signed up for another module which is, I think, going to be quite hard – I nearly changed my mind about it when I looked properly at the course work because I’m really setting myself quite a challenge if I go that route. Yikes!

Whatever the cause for my sudden, unexpected, and terribly weird laundry miracle, which I don’t for a minute pretend to understand, as we stand on the threshold of the new, getting ready for the next era we’re all about to embark on, at least I know we all smell good and clean and fresh* as we go!

*Any South Africans my age – do please feel free to add the “♪tra ♪la ♪la” you won’t be able to stop yourself from hearing at the end of that phrase!

Images (c)sarahjanefield 2015

Son No 1 after his school play where he was very grateful I only cried quietly and unobtrusively. He made a very good George Bernard Shaw.
Son No 3 won’t wear anything other than a tatty, ripped, old Spiderman outfit at the moment and gets extremely upset if we suggest something else.
Son No 3 and I doing some homework for his next school project. He loved a video installation by an artist called Kadar Attai where sugar is dissolved in unrefined oil, which I can’t help feeling reminded him of a YouTube video (no offence intended to the artist) which is why he it felt so accessible for him. He really loved it.