Every mother with a daughter should read this piece by my friend, Jan Wilberg.
We used to argue about how to fold the towels.
I folded them in half. She folded them in thirds.
Sometimes I’d open the linen closet and all the towels would be refolded in thirds. They were tidier that way and the closet doors would shut without having to force them. Still, it irked me. I was the mother. I wanted control over the towels.
But it’s a flimsy thing to control how the towels are folded. And a foolish thing to make towels a metaphor for everything.
In the hospital, the morning of her heart surgery, she took a stack of towels and a clean hospital gown into the bathroom, unwrapped the antiseptic scrubs and scrubbed her own chest. She was deliberate and thorough, going lighter on the long scar from her previous three heart surgeries, but scrubbing the rest of her chest, not missing even the tiniest spot…
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