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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
Nesting
by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
With each of my pregnancies I was filled with electric anticipation! I spent the early months of each pregnancy imagining the bright days ahead. I ticked the days and weeks off my calender as they passed, waiting, waiting, waiting for what I knew was coming. Oh sure, I was going to get a sweet new baby out of the deal, and that was pretty nice. But I was really waiting for something else entirely. I was waiting for another kind of miracle. I was waiting for the day that I would wake up in the morning and begin to NEST!

I am not domestic. So, for me to be overcome with the urge to clean, sort, fold, organize, polish, buff and scrub was an event. At the first glimmer of the nesting instinct, say closing a cabinet door on my own volition without being prompted, I was ready to run with it. The last days before the birth of each of my children was a flurry of activity and, knowing as I did that it might very well be the next pregnancy before the linen closet got organized or the baseboards polished again, I made the most of it each time.

It has been a long time since my last pregnancy. Almost twelve years. You can probably imagine, if you are that kind of person who slows down to gawk at car accidents, what the state of my closets and pantry is. I donít recommend the attempt for persons with a known heart condition or delicate stomach. But, you can if you want. I have made attempts over the years to recapture that glowing domesticity, that burning desire for order, but have found that it is not something you can fake very effectively.

Friends, something truly wonderful has happened to me and I want to share it for those of you who are one or two steps behind me on the life experience ladder. There is hope! You will nest again! It is only ten short days until my second daughter leaves the house to begin college. And I can feel the steam building in me! I want her gone, vacated, packed and shipped out and I want her to take all her stuff with her!

Itís not that I donít want my beautiful daughter around anymore. Although there is a downside to having children. For one thing, they do not smell like peaches and baby powder forever. Next thing you know they get gangly and boney and donít fit in your lap anymore. Then they want to pick out their own clothes, do things with their friends instead of you, have some privacy. They begin to develop opinions. Before you know what has happened, they are lecturing you on "good fats vs. bad fats" and telling you that a trip to Walmart does not count as 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.

If I canít have my sweet baby girl then, to be brutally honest, I want her room. I close my eyes at night and I see the seemingly endless possibilities her large, cedar lined closet offers. I find myself daydreaming about the vacant bookshelves; shelf after shelf after shelf of pure emptiness beckoning me, enticing me, inviting me. I have a million plans! And then a million more! It is almost like winning the lottery, the thought of an entire, pristine, empty room! A room that I can use anyway I want! I am so excited! I cannot wait to get started!

At one point, the anticipation became almost more than I could bear. I called the University to ask if there was a possibility she could move into the dorm early. So that she could begin to get acclimated to the campus and her new environment. Start to make new friends, find out where her classes were to be held. I told the lady in the housing office that I thought it would really benefit my poor little lost lamb and give her some much needed security and confidence. She told me, and I thought she was a little snippy about it too, that my daughter could move in mid-August with the rest of the Freshmen. When I began to protest she said, "Listen lady, this semester wonít be over until May and the fall semester doesnít start until August. How acclimated does your daughter need to get? Why donít you just come clean with me Ė youíre going to have a spare room when she leaves, arenít you?"

Oh yes! I certainly am! I am, I am, I really am!
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" - August 15, 2005 Column
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