Laundry room angels
When the idea to move into a motorhome and travel the country came into my mind, at first I completely dismissed it. I could barely standing living in 2,000 sq. ft. with my children and my husband. It felt cramped enough as it was. Although I do have a tiny bit of guilt in admitting this, I really didn’t like being around my family that much.
Meeting the needs of 4 humans and a dog 24/7 (which really feels like 123/75) when the hours seems to all blend together and the days don’t really make much sense other than: pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and noodles for dinner. Bath time. Then bed. Repeat.
I guess I sort of hoped that I could just keep my head down and grind on. But it started to get to me. Like really get to me. I started asking myself, what is the point of getting out of bed today if it is just going to be exactly the same as the 100 days prior. Evidently, the boredom got to me because the house went on the market and I started making all the adjustments to our current motorhome that I could do on my own. I put up white wallpaper; I took down ugly old curtains, bought rugs and bedding. Essentially, I went to work making us a traveling home.
I was determined to make each day different from the last.
When I started to tell my friends about my “plans to move into a motorhome” the responses reflected my original fears. I didn’t want to be crammed up with the people whose needs require my all my time, energy, and attention.
There is this quote, by Anais Nin, that I regularly refer to in this dreadful moments of having to make the decision to keep doing what I am doing, knowing I’ll continue to be miserable or branch out knowing I could fail.
I feel like she knew exactly how I felt when she wrote this: “and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
I cannot tell you how bad this ache got. On the days leading up to our move I started crying more regularly. I desperately wanted there to be another solution. Surely there was a way that I could have my cake and eat it, too. I was willing myself to come up with something else that would be a big enough change to break the cycle I was in. Alas, there was nothing. We moved out despite all our fears and jumped in, albeit somewhat unwillingly, with both feet.
Besides the obvious size difference, lack of privacy, lack of peace, and lack of any sort of quiet time…there was this other really big issue that we really hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to and that was the laundry.
This is something I majorly took for granted while living in my home with my very own laundry room. I regularly complained that it was “far too small” and “how much nicer it would be if we could just have the same size laundry room as _____________(fill in the blank).” I had no idea just how good it really was for me. Now I was sherping huge, heavy sacks of cloths to a public room where we all just shared.
I had anxiety like nothing I’d ever felt. I started having nightmares about my son throwing up and not having enough quarters to wash the bedding. No longer could I just, “throw a quick load in while the kids were playing.” Laundry, when you live in a RV, is a whole event. All of which is made possible by quarters. Something I haven’t keep on me in at least 10 years. As luck would have it, those nightmares about not having enough quarters to wash puke cloths, has come true way more times than my perfectionist personality will ever admit to.
Just about at the 6 week mark, this really wonderful thing happened.
We were parked in Page, Arizona. It was October 2020. I woke up around 6am to use the bathroom only to find there was no water coming into the toilet to flush. I quietly (its 30 feet, he could hear if I was whispering) asked my husband why there was no water. He calmly informed that our “pipes are frozen”, AKA the garden hose that carries the water from the outdoor faucet to our home on wheels, was frozen solid. FUN!
Oh and by the way…
he says…we are “moving” today to a place that doesn’t have any laundry facilities so could you please go start some laundry…(6am, frozen pipes, can’t flush)…”Sure HONEY!”. I run out in the freezing (literally) cold air to start some laundry so we have don’t have to travel with dirty cloths. When I make my way back into the house, he hands me our sons pajama’s covered in yogurt, “could you throw this in too?”
I panic and run back, hoping this isn’t one of those washers that locks the lid…It wasn’t, I was safe, and I met my first angel.
As a I am sure, looking back now, I must have seemed like a maniac, rushing in room far more panicked than necessary carrying with me a yogurt covered baby onesie. Instead of laugh at me hysterically, she asked…”how old is your son?”
This may seem like a very simple and small gesture.
I assure you, it was not. I hadn’t talked to a single person in nearly 6 weeks. This is smack in the middle of the pandemic, and as we were already traveling to new places we did our absolute best to quarantine and social distance. I wasn’t out meeting new friends. I didn’t realize until this woman offered me this small kindness, just how much I was really missing it. I used to have friends and neighbors that would regularly pop by for a cup of tea. Now I only had my kids and husband to talk to. After asking about my son, she informed me that she too had a son born in the same month as mine.
She knew exactly what it felt like to travel around the country with a tiny human and she extended me so much grace.
It turns out, while I was only 6 weeks into Laundromats and campgrounds, her and her family had been doing this for 6 years straight with no sign of stopping. They are currently traveling all over the US as wedding photographers. Their ultimate goal is to publish a book with images the weddings in each of the 50 states. She talked to me for over 30 minutes about how to get used to traveling and living this way. She gave me tips on solar and battery life. She even showed me the best way to organize the laundry in the machines so the cloths get the cleanest. When I calmly walked back into the motorhome after meeting my first laundry room angel, I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in months.
She was a gift and her brief moment of extending me grace gave me the courage to keep moving forward and to not give up just yet.
She wasn’t my last angel.
Every few weeks one of these chance meetings would occur, a few of them bringing me to tears. Seemingly, they would show up, at my lowest moments. Right when I just couldn’t take one more load of freaking laundry, there she would be. Each of them is always kind and gracious, offering me hope, and encouraging me to stay the course. It’s always a different woman although the love feels the same. These women are complete strangers, although I did as their names, and yet there they are just offering a bit of hope along my path. It seems as though some days I can feel completely lost on this journey and in those moments the universe provides me with wonderful and kind guideposts to remind me that I am exactly where I need to be.