The nostalgia of clean sheets #iPPP

Growing up, my most and least favorite day was cleaning day. Usually on a Saturday we’d wake up to the sounds of our mom scrubbing either the kitchen or the bathroom. We’d haul our dirty clothes out to the hallway and sort them into piles. We’d dust and vacuum and declutter.

When you’re a kid, cleaning sucks. But there was always something so lovely about resting on the couch under the ceiling fan afterward, surrounded by the smells of Clorox and Pledge. There was a peace to the clean house.

When it came time to strip and remake the beds, my sister and I would play a game with our mother. She would go to spread the new fitted sheet over the mattress and we’d climb underneath before she could get it secured. Then she’d continue to make the bed over us and we’d crawl out one corner, fixing it behind us.

It was silly, really, but it’s one of my favorite memories. The breeze of the snapped sheet over your head, the scent of the detergent it gave off.

The giggles as we lay trapped underneath the bedding for just a moment. The feeling that there wasn’t anything else going on in the world at that moment, just us in the bedroom, being together.

It was all part of the magic of childhood, the magic that fades for awhile but is renewed later when you get to be a parent yourself.

Yesterday I was making the bed when Monkey let out a loud squeal and leapt up onto it. He squirmed his way under the half of the sheet I’d already fitted to the mattress.

“I help,” he insisted.

He wasn’t much help, of course. He’d wrap himself up in the sheets, toss the pillows at me, and yank the comforter away each time I’d try to place it.

I would have gotten exasperated with him, but there was this moment. This moment when he was between the sheets, sitting on top of the fitted one I’d finally gotten tucked in, the flat sheet snapped out above his head, floating down in his face.

His face that was lit up from within with happiness at this moment.

Could he smell it, I wondered? The detergent, would he remember its scent years later? Would the softness of that clean sheet always be a comfort to him?

He had no idea of the bridge to my childhood he’d built in those few seconds, of how quickly I was taken back to those essentially carefree days. How for that moment, there wasn’t anything else going on in the world but us in the bedroom, being together.

Did you photograph a special moment with your phone this week? Link up your post with us!



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39 thoughts on “The nostalgia of clean sheets #iPPP

  1. Ooh. I know exactly what you are talking about. And cleaning days in my house were filled with the sounds of Motown, Al Jerreau, The Captain & Tennile, Al Green and so many others. I cannot hear that music without thinking of Cleaning Saturdays. Great shot!

  2. It’s amazing what will bring those memories back, and those tiny little moments that you remember 20 years later, and 20 years to come. When Monkey’s a daddy, he’ll be having magical moments like this, too.

  3. I love those moments – where your present meets your past.

    My Monkey loves jumping up on the bed when I’m making it too. What’s up with that?

  4. “He had no idea of the bridge to my childhood he’d built in those few seconds” – Love this so much. They do that, don’t they? I could almost smell the dryer sheets from here ❤

  5. This is beautifully written. Cleaning day was devoid of fun in my house growing up and I fear I’m carrying on that tradition. I will look for opportunities to make it less joyless. My sister still talks about the smell of spray starch sending her into a panic!

    1. Thank you. 🙂 I’m sorry it wasn’t a good experience for you. 😦 Now, I do get nauseated when anyone talks about ironing. But we just don’t own anything that needs it. 😉

  6. Oh such a sweet moment. I remember doing the same thing with my mom. Isn’t it wonderful how those little moments with your kids can bring back so many memories.

  7. A super adorable photo! We love playing in the sheets here. In addition to the fun of making the bed, we would get to use the sheets ready for the wash to make forts. I suppose my mom figured they were headed for the washer so we could play in them a little longer. Fun memories!

  8. I just shared a story with my girls about sheets last week. We saw a clothes line and my girls didn’t know what it was. I explained it and then told them there was nothing like my mom tucking me in with those crisp sheets with the smell of warm sunshine, a cool breeze and laundry detergent. I always loved when it was sheet washing day.
    Great shot!!

  9. Oh, this brings back memories fo me too. I love that this simple moment is one of your favorites. And how one of the worst days was also the best day. Life’s like that, huh?

  10. Oh, Julie, this makes me want to call my sisters. Your description of the memory is so beautiful. I hope my kids have things like this that snap them back in time, nostalgic. I had a flashback recently when Doubledutch Bus was on the radio. I remembered the spanking I got because my mother thought, at the part of the song where the singer says ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssugar, that I was about to say sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssshit. I wasn’t, because the song says sugar, but she THOUGHT I was going to say shit and because I should have known better than to say shit, I was hit and ooooh boy that’s kinda bringing the party down when we were all enjoying the smell of clean, snapped sheets, so I’ma scroll back up to see Monkey smile and forget I went down this road.

  11. I read this post early this morning and it seriously made me want to wash my sheets. I love how perfectly you captured this little moment, it’s the ideal that I strive for – to step outside of the “exasperated parent role” and see life from a different, more connected, more present view. This was just fantastic.

  12. You are such a good mom. Reading your lovely words…all I could think of is how much I hate to put on a fitted sheet. I struggle with them. Have a child intentionally tangle themselves up in the process — you are too good for this world. Cute pic.

  13. There is nothing like the smell of clean sheets.

    And now I’m thinking about my childhood and the smell of my mom baking cookies while we listened to Broadway musicals on LPs…(you know. Because I’m old.)

    The record player blasted The Fantastiks or Cabaret or Funny Girl…and my sister and I would dance around the house singing.

    Of course, eventually we had to dust and vacuum. But that was okay when there were cookies and clean sheets at the end of it all…

    Thanks for the memory.

  14. Oh yeah, I’ve got this same memory. When Babe helps make our cruise ship bed I insist he play the “I see you” game… you know when you throw the sheet in the air to flatten in out? You have to lift it high enough to see the other person…??? It makes me giggle every time.

  15. I love this and have similar memories. How neat it is it to have shared memories with your own child? I am sure he will remember the smell of the detergent and his mom taking a moment to play with him as she made the bed just as you have.

  16. I love how you remember sights , sounds, smells,and feelings. You paint such a complete picture. And then there is this adorable picture.. Monkey is so blessed to have a mommy who makes such memories for him.

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