It was an autumn day in Melbourne, with unusually warm weather on the day I walked into the laundry room and saw mum bent over the washing machine – almost inside the barrel. She eventually emerged with what appeared to be the entire load of washing in one big large knot.
Not what she had expected.
I see this
I say to her
“Mum let me get those out for you.”
“No, I can do it” she says.
I made a conscious note to remain calm. There was no need for hysteria and yelling, I really needed to grow out of that, there’s a point where…
…I’m distracted by the sounds of grunts.
I look over
I saw mum tugging on that large knot hoping to loosen it. Clothes were not budging, instead seem to be clinging even closer together – as though they had a life of their own.
I lower my voice
I say to her
“Mother…. [note pause here]… please allow me…”
I place my hand on my chest to avoid any confusion of who’s offering the help
“… to help untangle this”
I gently rest of my other hand on her shoulder to maximise sincerity.
She ignored me.
She continued to try to untangle the stubborn knot.
And as I watch her I began to trace her face and saw an expression of sheer determination and will. She was going to get this knot undone – no ifs or buts or help from me thank you. Her arms, in comparison were letting her down.
And I felt a sadness deep in my chest.
And then something inside my head snaps.
“MA I’VE TOLD I’LL DO IT.
I TOLD YOU THREE TIMES I’LL DO IT.
LET ME DO IT.
YOU CAN’T DO IT
Hands were now clenched fists and waving in outrage.
Perhaps through her determination, perhaps through the jolt she received from my raised voice, in an epic gladiator move she managed to detach a hand towel. She stood tall and proud clutching the towel.
She steps away.
Lowers her head and quietly says…
“Ok do it”.