Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sock Fairy

Once when we were living in married student housing at BYU I remember hearing another young wife (married for a few years) complaining about her husband’s lack of awareness of the things she did for him.  “It’s like,” she said, “he thinks that the sock fairy just puts those clean socks in his drawer every week.”  At the time I was amused by her comment and grateful that Russ & I did the laundry together. 

In the intervening years the laundry system in our home has gone through a lot of stages.  The best stage lasted for a couple of years when we paid Jason a ridiculously small amount of money every month to keep the laundry folded.  After he left for college & then Chile the laundry devolved back into what we referred to fondly as “the Laundry Hall of Shame.”  (Sorry—I know I’ve taken pictures of the laundry hall of shame in the past when it was particularly overwhelming but I can’t seem to find any right now.  Just imagine that long hall outside of our NC laundry room filled with baskets of clean clothes, and then more baskets stacked on top of those.  I know…shameful…)

Here in the apartment there is no room for laundry, literally.  Last week when our stuff came out of storage (and into storage in 2 garages here at the apartment complex) we got more of the green couch and the ottoman as well.  We’re sitting much more comfortably but there is NO extra room for laundry baskets or anything else. 


Our bedroom is almost as crowded, and still has boxes waiting to be unpacked in it so there’s no room for laundry to sit around in there waiting to be folded either.  I decided that really the best thing is for me to go ahead and fold laundry right out of the dryer.  Not that there’s much room for me in front of the dryer either—the laundry room here is a combo laundry room/pantry and with the addition of more shelves (we were desperate for more pantry space) there’s not a lot of room between the shelves and the washer & dryer. 


So there I stand, wedged between the ramen and the dryer, folding the clothes.

Yesterday as I stood there folding the laundry the thought flitted though my mind that Russ probably wasn’t going to even notice that the laundry had been done, even after me squeezing into the laundry room to fold all of it.  The “sock fairy” comment from all of those years ago passed back through my mind and for a moment I felt a connection with that young wife so many years ago—unappreciated in my service for my husband.

And then I had another thought, one that brought  me back to reality with a sharp jab.  I wondered how many times I have not appreciated the “money fairy” in our marriage.  How often (and it is more often than it should be) do I forget to appreciate enough that Russ works long and hard to provide for us.  I listened carefully to him describing his job to someone the other night in hopes that when it was over I would finally know what it is that he does for a living.  Nope, I still don’t, although I did notice that now he manages an environment in addition to the kinds of things he used to do.  What I do know is that he works a lot, that what he does is often stressful, and that his days are long. 

Next time when I’m folding the laundry I’m going to think of myself as the sock fairy, helping out the money fairy.  And I’m going to be really super grateful for all that the money fairy does for us, both at work and here at home.  And then when he comes home from work I’m going to give him a big kiss and tell him that I hope he enjoys those clean socks.  Not that he’s never going to have to fold socks himself again—that would be unrealistic to expect.  But I am going to work on being more consistently aware of what it is that he does for us every single day. 

Thank you, money fairy!!!


  1. So true- we definitely do not have the monopoly on invisible work. The other day I decided to be really nice and iron six of Eric's shirts while he was at work, hang them in his closet and not say a word. He's very picky about his shirts (and would rather be having them dry-cleaned, but that's not in the budget at the moment) so it took me a good while to do. I waited and waited for him to notice and thank me. Some time after he got home, the moment I'd been waiting for arrived, and he said "thank you so much for washing and ironing my shirts!" and then gave me a big kiss. I was confused for a minute until I realized what had happened....I had ironed six dirty shirts. UGH!

  2. I really love that sock fairy

  3. I LOVE this post. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the "all I do" and forget "all Bob does". Thank you for the great reminder!