Nesting...It's Not Just for Pregnant Women Anymore

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Something made me wake up at 3 AM this morning and decide to rearrange the
furniture in the living room. The chairs just didn't work where they were...
there was too much glare on the television when you sat in them. But now,
they were too close to the couch so the couch must be moved as well. And
there was a stain on the couch that needed to be scrubbed off, and the floor
really needed to be scrubbed too.

At a quarter to four, something draws me to my son's room. I sit on his
empty bed and look around in the dull lamplight. The walls are bare, because
we decided to wait for him to get here and pick out his own decor. Now I'm
wishing there was something - anything - to cover up those bare walls and
take the blah out of this room. The sheets need to be washed again. They
must've gotten dusty from not being slept on yet. And my daughter's Ken
doll - minus his head and clothing from the waist down - has taken residence
under the bed. He needs to relocate soon. There's no way a nine-year-old
boy is going to appreciate his new sister's decapitated Ken doll living under
the bed. I open up the near empty closet and realize that my husband's good
suit is still hanging in there. I need to take it out. My son's closet
should belong solely to my son. Later, I tell myself with a sigh. Too early
right now, I should go back to bed.

In bed again, its 4:35. I can't sleep. I'm wondering if I should fix a big
breakfast. I'm wondering how my son likes his eggs. I bet he likes them
scrambled. So, in his honor I will get up and make scrambled eggs this
morning, wishing all the while that he was here to eat them. Minutes later,
I'm up, in the kitchen. Clanging pans. Now my husband is up. Staggering
around in his robe, squinting from the kitchen light.

"What, may I ask," He says glancing at the kitchen clock, "Are you doing?"

"Making breakfast," I reply. I had meant for my voice to sound cheerful,
but "near-hysteria" better describes it.

He's looking at me like I've permanently taken leave of my senses. "Do you
realize what time it is?"

I sigh. O.k., bad idea. I put the pans back in the cabinet, making sure
they cry out one last "clang." Husband staggers back to bed, and I flop
down into the recently re-arranged chair in the living room. Only, it
doesn't feel right sitting in the chair in this spot. I spend the next
thirty minutes putting the furniture back where it was.

Now, my back is aching and I'm really tired. The sun will be up soon, and so
will the baby. I'm wondering what's wrong with me. Ever since I learned
that my son would be home in a matter of weeks, I've had this affliction. I
was like this twice before. Shortly before my daughters were born. The
first time it ever came on, I was caught in the back yard in the early
morning hours - on New Year's Eve - in a bathrobe, full belly and all,
packing a completely decorated Christmas tree out of the house because I was
tired of looking at it. Back then, folks called it "nesting." When I
described this affliction to other mothers I knew, they'd get this knowing
smile. This secretive smile, as they remembered their own due-any-day, mad
housekeeping adventures. And the affliction really WAS a secret. It was
something you didn't really know about until you had it. And then you found
out that almost every pregnant woman had it. It was catalogued in the tales
of pregnancy somewhere between "morning sickness" and "labor and delivery."

But now, I'm not pregnant. Not really, anyway. To look at me, you'd never
know I was about to have a son. A nine-year-old son, who has feet bigger
than my own and three younger sisters who have already arrived. But I am an
expectant mother just as any expectant mother. Waiting for the bed to be
full, another chair at the table, and a sound of new laughter in my ears.

Credits: Susan Culver

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