A Story in Every Load


This post is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, makers of such fine products as Tide and Downy.  All opinions and stories are my own.


They are usually the last one out, as if the thought of leaving would never have occurred to them had not everyone else left just moments before. The time was good—good, clean fun, and they never considered it ending until the moment that it did.

The stoppage was fairly sudden, but the warnings were there for those that cared to notice. For example, somebody turned the water off. Also, the bubbles had popped from every corner of the sky. Then the lights were on, and they didn’t have to go home, but they couldn’t stay here.

I had only paid for one cycle, and I was running out of quarters.

As it is, they hid as long as they could, beneath the threads and folds of fabric, and had they hung on they would have never been found, at least not until a small hand fell to its old ways, but they lacked the strength to do so—they let go, one by one, and the hem was pulled away.

These are the stowaways among us, and the din of their fall against empty, cold metal betrays them every single time.

“Look,” I say to the boy nearest me. They are interchangeable in this respect. Both are equally guilty at all times, and neither tries to deny it. Rather they look as instructed and their eyes light up when I pull their toy from the bottom of the washer—a thing so loved it was kept tight in tiny pockets and forgotten to the hamper as little boys fell asleep and the garments of their companionship became the fortress of their solitude.

When the toys wake-up the world is spinning, and the tide rises on scents of clean breeze and ocean mist. This is the ride we opened with. This is the good, clean fun.

They might be a building brick or a stuffed, green frog, but that is not what defines them. The toys find their meaning in the love of a little boy, and frankly, they needed the bath.

The moments like this are fairly common. I do most of the laundry in our family and the boys cause most of the messes. Together we have spent hours in the laundromat whistling away grass stains and folding up memories. Then we rinse. Then we repeat. The occasional toy making its way into the wash creates such a reaction of joy that I have considered planting them there myself; however, I have come to realize that a reunion is just a fresh layer on existing happiness, and the story of the stain is in the making of it.

The toy has been found, the clothes are clean and wet, and the boys are loads of laughter. The dryer isn’t going anywhere.


– This month, Tide and Downy are celebrating the unique way that each dad does things
– Everyone has a story about what makes their dad uniquely him.  Tell us your story using the hashtag #DadsWay on Twitter
– For every tweet sent out with #DadsWay, Tide and Downy will donate $1 to the National Fatherhood Initiative

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