Monday, June 11, 2012

The Laundry Offer


If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help--or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters?  the offer, while well meaning and often given, "Let me know if I can help" is really no help at all."   - Ronald L. Rasband; LDS General Conference April 2012




We were 10 minutes late to church and the only pew big enough to fit our family of three restless toddlers was near the front.  A pregnant mamma waddled down the aisle, holding the hand of one of her little ducklings, while daddy and two other ducks followed close behind.  With the help of goldfish crackers, sippy cups full of water, crayons and trucks, we made it through the hour long service.  


"Nursery!"  Cried one of my munchkins.  


"Big backhoe!" Another one chimed in, already making their way to the end of the pew.  


Our church nursery has one of the biggest toy backhoes my kids have ever seen.  Given their slight obsession with heavy machinery, we have no problems getting them to stay and enjoy their time playing with toys, singing songs, having a snack and learning about Jesus.  


As I make my way out of the pew, watching my three walk with dad, a bag strapped over my shoulder, a woman comes up to me and asks me how I'm feeling.  


"Oh, good."  I reply with a kind of smile I've put on lately.  Sincere, but weary.  


"So, I'll be by tomorrow to pick up your laundry."  She says this as if we had already talked about it.


"Wait, what?  My laundry?  Why?"  I was caught a little off guard and wondered if my pregnant brain had erased a conversation.


"Because I want to help you.  I'm too old to get down on the floor and play with the kids, but I can do laundry."


My eyes got a little wet.  Never mind that laundry is my least favorite chore.  (I'm positive she doesn't read my blog, how did she know this?)  But there is a constant stream of it, and piles through out the house that never end, only rotate.  And the bigger my belly gets, the more I slow down.  As this baby grows, my kids get busier, faster, louder, talk backier.  It's not the greatest formula for a well functioning household.  


I hesitate.  I could say thanks, but no thanks.  But she was so sure that this was happening.  So sincere in her offering.  So full of love.  


"Thanks," I stammer, holding back tears.  "That would be really great.  Thank you."


She smiles, tells me she'll be by around 9:30.  


And she was.  She returned later that day with a box full of clean, folded and pressed (SHE IRONED!) laundry.  She then told me to have Chris drop it by her house next time on the way to work, that would be easier for her.  (NEXT TIME?!!?)  


I wrapped my arms around her wise shoulders, gave her a hug and told her how much I appreciated her help.  


"Well," she said, "the Lord has blessed me with a lot in my life, so there is a lot I can do."


I know this is a season in my life.  I won't always feel like I'm treading water or in a state of exhaustion at the end of each day.  It's just a season.  I won't have these kinds of offers forever.  I won't need them, I'll make them.


And someday, that exact sentence will escape my lips to a mother many decades my junior. The Lord has blessed me with a lot in my life, so there is a lot I can do.  When she tells me she's grateful, I'll know she really means it.   


18 comments:

Olusola said...

Wow! Now THAT is kindness. This post really moved me. She sounds like a God-sent angel

Liv said...

Her generosity made me cry. I only had one baby, but when people made plans to stop by and help, it was so much better than people saying "let me know what I can do!"

Galley's said...

This blog will undoubtedly inspire many to look for ways to lift and help others. Thanks for reminding me what is important!

Carrie said...

seriously brought tears to my eyes. if i lived near you i would totally do your laundry. but if i was pregnant and had triplets, i would definitely be praying every night for someone to come by daily to do my dishes. and maybe bring dinner too.

but really... i love this so much. i'm so glad you said yes.

michael. mindy. dane. said...

ah! i am DYING! i can't believe how sweet some people are. and who is your, ehem, family, ehem?! shouldn't THEY be the ones doing your laundry well don't let your ward-friend get too far ahead. i think shauna has big plans for thursday!

seriously, though. this is awesome. so sweet. so thoughtful. i need to be more like her!

Heidi said...

Oh, I love this! Thanks for sharing such a happy and kind thought! :)

Multiples Mom said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful woman... That is so great that she made that offer and followed through and plans to continue following through. As you have said, I am sure you will pay it forward in the future. This story sounds like something out of a movie---how great that it is real life.

: 0 ) Theresa

Grant and Candice said...

Wow! Amazing! This has inspired me to do better! What a wonderful lady she must be! Thanks for sharing!!

kristinhackman said...

OK, its official, we MUST be friends. Someday when our kids are grown and we can go to places at our own free will, we will meet for coffee because I just read that like it was my own train of thought. I think I actually started to shake a little bit as I cried (in a coffee shop -- I'm cool). I OFTEN tell Scott and anyone who will listen - if you really want to help - SHOW UP. I learned this the hard way when millions of people offered to help w/ "those cute sweet babies" when I was pregnant and then only tens of people showed up at the doorstep w/ diapers and hands ready to fold and help put away pumped breast milk. I'm guilty of it too...it's a great reminder, just do it. That women is an angel and what is great is that it is simple for her and it means the world to you and will make your day,week and outlook EASIER - if just for a few loads of laundry!! I am inspired to pay forward today - thank you Kara & thank you Church Lady...(I'm going to walk extra slow and bogged down at church this Sunday...shoot, I'm not preggo though..) Sorry for long comment - just feel strongly about this topic :)

KC said...

I found you! Did I already tell you that? I love reading about how you and your beauties are doing. I'm excited about your 32 weeks and I cried when I read this post. What a sweet lady.

Kelsey said...

Su-weeeeet! What a nice lady!

Kamal and Amber said...

That is awesome!! What a sweet lady!

clf33 said...

The best help I've ever received was when a neighbor asked when she could come help with my twins for an hour. She was willing to give me an hour a week when she would come over and entertain babies so I could sleep, catch up chores, whatever. More recently (those twins now almost 4 and a new baby in the house) neighbors have called to invite my girls over for a playdate to keep them sane and give me time with the baby. What great examples of true "volunteers."

maxfamclan said...

You are one amazing woman to record these precious moments. Where much is given, much is expected of us! You are giving your all to your own right now, and somehow the Lord gives us the strength to do all we need... often using others. Thank you for sharing.

clf33 said...

The best help I've ever received was when a neighbor asked when she could come help with my twins for an hour. She was willing to give me an hour a week when she would come over and entertain babies so I could sleep, catch up chores, whatever. More recently (those twins now almost 4 and a new baby in the house) neighbors have called to invite my girls over for a playdate to keep them sane and give me time with the baby. What great examples of true "volunteers."

clf33 said...

The best help I've ever received was when a neighbor asked when she could come help with my twins for an hour. She was willing to give me an hour a week when she would come over and entertain babies so I could sleep, catch up chores, whatever. More recently (those twins now almost 4 and a new baby in the house) neighbors have called to invite my girls over for a playdate to keep them sane and give me time with the baby. What great examples of true "volunteers."

Handsfullmom said...

Thanks for sharing. How sweet.

A and R said...

This made me cry Kara. So, so cool of her. I loved Elder Rasband's talk and I've talked to husband a lot about those words, "call me if you need anything" before that talk. I will never say those words to anyone. What an example she is!