I hate to iron. No, it’s more than that. I hate the idea of ironing—it seems all wrong. Because ironing—or a society that says ironing is a good thing—sends the message that there’s something wrong with the natural state of things. That there’s something wrong with ME if I opted, this morning, to read the paper with my son, Reeve, instead of ironing this shirt I’m wearing, which, because it’s cotton and not some crazy unnatural synthetic material, is ridiculously wrinkled.
(I know better, of course. I know that that’s silly: I’m not wrong, just . . . disheveled. Even so, when I have to go some place where I know I might be judged by my appearance, I usually will at least make the concession of hanging my wrinkled clothes next to me while I shower to give them the steam treatment—so that I won’t look like I don’t care, I guess.) (But I WON’T iron.)
Which is to say that it was a shock when, last night, as Reeve was packing to go to a voice audition at Temple University, and as I, trying to help him get ready, was pulling our 20-year-old iron out of the mudroom cabinet where we keep things like old paint buckets—things we never use—and beginning to iron his audition clothes . . . it hit me: I am the best ironer in this house!
Should be a no-brainer, since there are only four of us in the house: Reeve, my husband Tim, and our nephew Nick—and none of them were even sure we had an iron.* (We all share the same feelings about ironing.) Still, the thought took me by surprise. The best ironer in the house!
Which got me thinking about all the things I’m not so good at that I’ve needed to do as a parent, things like cooking and cleaning and bandaging boo-boos (I used to have to close my eyes while washing wounds) and things—like ironing—which I’ve maybe not even been sure needed to be done). Things I did because there wasn’t anybody else to do them. Which made me, by default, the best in the house at doing them, the expert. . . the MOM.
Kind of a heady thought. . .
*Though to be fair, Tim and Reeve have both used the iron before. Nick, however, had not. Not til last night, anyway! (He was a natural! May soon relieve me of my title.)
Above: Photo of the iron somebody left behind by some resident when Tim and I were house-parenting in the summer of 1993—the only iron we’ve ever owned—and our cat Beckett (who obviously feels the same way I do about ironing).