Every time I start to gather the laundry she comes running. "I help you Mommy?!?! I help YOU?!?!" She collects her step stool and scolds me if she doesn't have enough items of clothing to add to the load herself. I can't stand for her to touch the underwear with her indiscriminate grasp so I set the shirts and nightgowns and socks in a little pile. Letting her help with the soap is my challenge because she drops it sometimes, or spills it on her hands. Why is laundry detergent so difficult to wash off skin? Why is it such a fight for me to let go of my control over this tiny part of our day? I love every moment of her help. She is consistently surprised by the water in the machine and how it splashes up onto her nose sometimes. It always makes her giggle and look up at me with bright eyes. I know these days are severely limited. Still the delight my heart feels in this routine and the memory it will become, is mingled with the constant training down of my need to control every moment. I box up my sharp precision in a sound proof room and will myself to ignore the jiggling door knob. I guess I will always be one of those people for whom it takes much practice to allow others to participate in my life, particularly those who are small. Whatever the deeper issues of these moments in my own mind, Frankie standing on a stool watching the washer fill with water is my girlish dream of motherhood personified.