It feels like a long time ago now that we set our heart on buying our house. It was going to be a tight squeeze financially but we needed more space and we all fell in love with the house the first time we saw it. It was going to be a family home. There was three of us back then but we hoped it would soon be four. I remember having a long discussion about the washing line and where it would go, it would have to jostle along with my eldest son’s swing set but I had to have a washing line. Little did I know back then how much use it would get over the years that followed.
It was shiny and green and I always had a sense of satisfaction from seeing all of my washing blowing in the breeze. I still do.
Back then it was all suits and smart clothes with two full-time teachers in the house, littered with track suit bottoms and t-shirts; my son’s clothes of choice.
Pretty soon that changed. Tiny body suits and baby gros in blue and white started to appear, more and more of them as the reality of how many clothes babies get through set in. Mummy’s clothes changed from maternity to regulation jeans and dark tops along with the next run of baby clothes. With the two boys so close together, there would often be sets of clothes in twos but in slightly different sizes; little brightly coloured t-shirts with cute slogans and pictures
These soon made way for blazers and shirts as we entered our first run of secondary school, the sweet little baby clothes quickly disappeared and it seemed like they were all to quickly replaced by football kits; mostly Liverpool, like Daddy’s and sporty clothing. Little did I know how much more of that there was to come.
Matching Liverpool bedding would fill the whole line and I blinked and there was primary school uniform once more and then again. Blue sweatshirts which often bore the irremovable stains of boys and grey trousers with the knees worn away by play.
A change of allegiance made for a colourful line when the bedding and football kits were washed; Liverpool red on one side and Chelsea blue on the other.
Then everything changed with the arrival of pink. This was new. Very new. Unprecedented. A baby girl with everything pretty and pink. Suddenly there were dresses and skirts jostling for attention in between the blues and the reds that had always dominated. It all looked so tiny in comparison with a five year age gap but the gap soon lessened. The pink stayed as did the pretty dresses and skirts but they grew in size and didn’t seem to pause for breath.
The teen moved onto pastures new with work, travel and university on the horizon, making way for more and more sports clothes; rugby, football, swimming, more swimming. The washing line bowed under the never-ending weight of family life. With two loads of washing some days, every inch of the line is filled with the washing from our busy lives.
Secondary school loomed again and the white shirts fluttered happily in the breeze along with school uniform of the female kind. Once again this was unknown territory with summer dresses being the latest addition out there drying in the warm April sunshine.
My poor washing line is looking threadbare and stretched but it still does its job. I don’t want to replace it or get rid of to, it has seen so much of our family’s history and growth over the years and there is so much more to come. This year, there will only be one lot of primary uniform hanging on the line as another one passes onto secondary and I’m sure it won’t be long before we are back to two sets of clothes on the line again.
That will be a strange day indeed but at least it will give the poor old washing line a well-earned break.