I've always liked doing laundry. I have a keen appreciation for crisp, clean-smelling fabric. Laundry also appeals to my sense of order – it's such a sense of fulfillment to look at a laundry line draped all in blue pants.

And what fun when there are finally enough reds to do a red load – the reds, purples, and oranges are so merry on the line. Whites are carefully sorted into socks and underwear, to be washed in scalding hot water with a pre-wash and tons of detergent; and shirts, to be pretreated for stains and then washed in cold or warm – depending how dirty they are – with lots of bleach, so they will smell antiseptic.

I find a whole world of emotional connection in my loads of dirty laundryMy husband's vest must be washed right away since he'll need it for tomorrow. My suits go in the hand-wash cycle – how clever I am for doing them in the machine! They will be carefully hung to dry, and I will quickly press out the creases with my hands, as I don't own an iron (once the clothes are clean I'm done with them; my attention span isn't that long).

Yes, laundry satisfies me deeply as an accomplishment, and my pleasure in having it done is so great that I have even been known to rise on the morning after giving birth to throw in a load or two.

But beyond the task itself and the satisfaction of the art of treating each garment according to its needs, I find a whole world of emotional connection in my loads of dirty laundry. As I pull each garment out of the hamper, it tells me a story about my dear children.

A pair of Yitzchak's pants, perfectly clean, not a smudge on them or even a drop of perspiration, yet he wouldn't dream of wearing them a second time. The boy doesn't even seem to sweat; he's always been kind of perfect that way, a golden boy. And look how long the legs on these pants are! He's already taller than me!

Here is a tiny pair of shorts, which conjures images of the chubby legs that protruded from them yesterday. Ah, Shloimie! On the back, the telltale stain where the little diapered bottom plunked itself down in the dirt while its owner happily dug for pebbles which he produced for me like a present. Or a little pair of tiny socks – who wouldn't laugh for joy just to hold such dear little garments and know that you have a tiny boy who goes inside them?

It’s not just housework, it’s a bonding activityI can identify Hudi's shirts by just the left sleeve, which is what he uses to wipe his face during his long afternoons of digging with his friend Yehuda Leib. While the persistently blackened cuffs are a laundry problem, still and all I smile at the image of the little sweaty face and the left sleeve drawn over it at intervals as he goes about his happy work of playing.

Reuven is the one most likely to have odd things in the pockets. I am always amused on drawing out a small counterfeit bill, a piece of hardware, a plastic frog. The cuffs are usually clean but the front of the shirt is liable to bear a general grey tinge from all the sliding around on the floor. The knees of the pants, needless to say, are often gone.

Aryeh's pants are always clean (they don't get too dirty from reading on the sofa all afternoon), but the inside of his shirt collar tends to be darkened – the perspiration emanates mainly from all the brain activity. I picture the rosy cheeks above that collar, and the sweet smile he'll flash me quickly, before his eyes return to his book.

Here's a bright red stain on Yosef Chaim's shirt, from the school project that he was flaking apart on the table, no doubt. That one's there for good. Yosef Chaim's clothes are pretty much dirty all over – he has that way of really throwing himself into everything he does. The pants tend to be caked in mud, which he has a knack for finding. At the end of the day I'll tell him he needs a bath and he will smile his brilliant smile in that coal-miner's face.

This is why I really love doing laundry. It's not just housework, it's a bonding activity. But, alas for my house, my love of laundry does not extend to other things domestic. No stack of dishes, for example, ever conjures up my children's smiles for me. The dishes don't smell like the boys, don't mimic their forms so that passing my hands over them reminds me of caressing a dear limb. No, the dishes don't speak to me at all.

But wait a minute, maybe there is something I can latch on to here. Look: there is the empty cup of hot chocolate that Reuven drank this morning, because his teacher told him to have a hot drink before school. And of course his brothers want one, too, so there is a little row of cups. How lucky I am to have a row of cups to wash, to match the row of boys!

Yes – I've found emotional connection in the dishes, too!

But what about the greasy pot from Shabbat? Of course, grease on the pot means there was meat. We had meat! Gratitude!

I start to think about all the reasons to be grateful for a sink full of dishes I start to think about all the reasons to be grateful for a sink full of dishes. Besides all the boys to help get the dishes dirty, we have food, hot water, sponges and detergent. The electricity is on and I can see just fine. I'm not allergic to dish soap and I am healthy enough to stand at the sink even for an hour, if that's what it takes. No one is sick in the hospital, thank G‑d, so I can be at home washing dishes.

And more! I'm breathing! My heart is pumping! G‑d is sustaining my existence at this very moment! And I have this wonderful opportunity to make my home, to cook food and clean up afterwards so that my husband and children (I have a husband and children!) will feel the warmth of my nurturing.

I'm starting to get the hang of it. So many reasons to be grateful!

Nevertheless, I think I'll save mopping the floors for tomorrow. I'm still a beginner at this, after all.