My thanks to pastor, spiritual guide, retreat leader Elaine Gaetani for sharing this deeply personal prose-poem with us.
POEM — The Summer Dress
It is one of those rare and delicious afternoons, when the windows are opened and the gentle breeze flows through the entire house carrying the late spring scent of earlier morning rains.
My house is in order…………..the laundry washed, dried and folded, the floors and table tops cleaned from the ever present mounting green spring pollen, the dishes put away……the arguments settled. Rare & delicious indeed.
There is, even if momentary, a deep sense of peace………….and I revel in the gift of simple tasks, like ironing a cotton summer dress.
In this wash and wear time in history, to focus on creases and hems, to press down linings and zippers almost feels luxurious! How can this be?
It is simple. It calls me back to earlier days when as a child I knew that if my mother was ironing, it meant she was, even if momentarily, at peace. She was not toiling away at her two shifts a day job in the local department store. She was not trying to figure out how to pay the mounting bills, she was not bringing my invalid father back and forth to doctor’s appointments, she was not stepping over the filth and chaos of the house, she was not burning the evening’s dinner, (if there was one), she was not sitting at the kitchen table sipping beer and chain smoking herself to death. She was ironing.
It was normal. And I was safe, even if momentarily. I had a mother and she ironed like other mothers.
As difficult as it was to be a child in that setting, and yes, with that mother, I look back with a compassionate and grateful heart. Grateful that I have been shouldered, grateful that most of my adult life, although full & busy & sometimes chaotic, has afforded me many moments to tend to simple tasks, like I did today.
I place my three newly ironed, sleeveless cotton dresses in my closet and I thank God and my mother. And I thank myself/Self. Amen.