It all comes out in the wash. Mildred F. Brown
When I was 21 years old I sat in a room with my paternal grandmother. Her name was Mildred Brown, known to all her other grandchildren as grammo . Since I was what they called proper, I called her grandmother. She never said a whole lot. She listened prayed and smiled. That’s all I ever saw her do. Listen. Pray. Smile.
I was pregnant. Unmarried. Worried. And in a well worn relationship with my high school sweetheart. About two weeks before I found out I was pregnant I’d decided we needed to break up. He wanted to see other people, in fact he was seeing other people. We were going to college in different parts of the state and it was time to call it quits.
In my head I knew it would be best to have the baby and go on with my life. But in my heart I wanted this young man I’d known since I was twelve to want to marry me. So, I sat in a room with my grandmother and told her I was scared and embarrassed. I was ashamed that I’d been with my boyfriend for six years and he didn’t want me or the baby. I told her I was worried about what people would think about me. I told her I felt stupid and I didn’t know what to do.
She looked at me for a long time and a slow smile crept across her face. She said, “Baby, that ain’t nothing. Don’t worry bout what nobody else think. Just worry about you and that baby. It all comes out in the wash – you gon see that when you get older. It all comes out in the wash.”
She was right of course on both accounts. I needed to make myself and my baby my number one concern and I didn’t understand the concept of “come out in the wash” until I was older. Now twenty-six years later I’ve had so much come out in the wash. Two husbands and a few friends have come out in the wash. The wash has cleaned up every bad decision and less than smart move I’ve made. The wash has rinsed out long held views and some sensitivity.
Today I know exactly what the wash is.
It all washes away in time. Hurt feelings. Misunderstandings. Worry. Fear. Grief. Abandonment. Just as it is with laundry, sometimes it takes several washes to get tough stains out. Sometimes we have to treat stubborn stains and let them soak. We even keep some stained articles of clothing if we really like them – but we only wear them around the house. Sometimes in private we look back over some of our past “stains”. But, we shake it off and keep moving because we know we don’t have to wear them any more.
Now when I’m anxious and fretting over missteps or wrong turns in my life, I take a deep breath, release it and hear Mildred Brown saying, “Baby that ain’t nothin’, it all comes out in the wash.”
Until we meet again, smile, live love and be grateful.