I don’t know if this is a trait that most females possess, but I’ve certainly heard it referred to with expectant moms. We want to fix the living space to be comfy and inviting.
After the sale of our home of 24 years, we downsized to two smaller apartments in vastly different geographic locations: one location where I truly enjoy “living” my life (A); and the other location more of a pit stop near family who need our help occasionally, especially the elderly parent (B). Downsizing and freeing ourselves of clutter and junk was a good feeling. We truly miss nothing.
Of course, making comfortable (and inviting) the residence where we spend most of our time was #1 on my list. Over our 4 months, we’ve created quite a cozy nest in A.
Nest B was where we moved most of the remaining furniture we decided to keep, and other storage items, after we closed on the house. I spent one night in Nest B, and beyond trying to make it look tidy, sheets on beds and towels in the bathroom, had done very little to make it livable. SJ has since made several trips to Nest B, without me, to check in on older parent. Several of our kids have used it as a stop over or in-between pit stop (with son complaining “Don’t you have any sauce pans?” “Um no, we gave them all away to your sibs” or “Where is the washer/dryer?” “It’s called a Laundromat, son. Get some change and bring a book.” “Where’s the cable TV?” “Call the provider and see how much it’ll cost you to have it provided.”). It’s a comfy place, more modern than Nest A, but I had no real personal investment in it. It was to be a hotel. It was SJ’s idea and decision to maintain Nest B (and it makes sense when we considered paying for storage, rent cars, and lodging with each trip here, not to mention tax status).
We’re back for a week now and I immediately got the nesting instinct, strong. It wasn’t enough there was a comfy bed to lie on (with an inelegant older bedcover). Glancing into my bathroom sink the next morning I saw long dark hairs sprinkled with shaved hair. Ugh. Even though I knew this was my first-born’s shaggy mess, I wasn’t happy. I questioningly looked at sheets and was assured by SJ they’d been laundered during his last visit. I was pleasantly surprised not to find a fuzz of dust over surfaces, but when I searched for the toilet cleaner found there was none. I realized that the bare cupboard didn’t support even the basics of cooking a real meal.
My sticky notes dot the scenery now. I’m sure visiting progeny will claim temporary loss of vision. I told SJ that the only way I might be able to handle the no-washer, and linen/towel thing, was to resolve we’d do laundry upon arrival each time (there are backup sets) and be sure it was all clean. The Dollar Store and Walmart has helped to equip some basic necessities… (hard-boiling eggs in a skillet was quite a feat). I’ve pretty much decided that we will DEFINITELY order in our Thanksgiving feast next month because I don’t see a roaster and I’ve not used the oven yet. I already over-bought fridge food; turns out we’ll eat out for most of our meals this time. Sigh, at least I can freeze most of it.
It made me wonder—can someone feel called to “nest” in a place that doesn’t feel like a home? And, what exactly is the definition of home?
We have been dealing with an elder who has sadly spent most of her life finding the negative in everything, and at 92 it’s not changed. Efforts to help her see all the beautiful, wonderful things of her life have been for naught. My sweet, patient hubby sits and lets her vent her endless complaints, and criticisms of every person in her life who looked at her wrong, did her wrong, once in a while trying vainly to point out the many blessings to a heart unwilling to hear. She has never resigned herself to be well in her soul, or just bloom where she was planted. Sadly, you can’t force someone to be positive. And although it may be an option to avoid being around such people, you can’t do that with your parent who needs you even when they say they don’t (my own Dad is equally negative about the raw deals he’s been dealt or how I and others have failed him; I call him once a week and endure the call, check in on him a couple times a year, but know he’s in a setting where care is close at hand. I’m of the belief it’s purely his choice to decline to have human relationships due to a difficult personality. But in the “good, better, and best” of honoring an elderly parent in spite of their negativity, SJ’s got me beat hands down). Both parents have lost their spouse; both are in safe, clean, beautiful, active senior living situations; but both clearly do not feel “home,” and I get that. Yet I think that there is a tendency to mistake the place you used to call home with the person you shared it with. I don’t have the answers on how a widow, widower, or other single person feels home when there clearly is loneliness… but I believe it has to do with your activity level and involvement with other people.
Our eldest child is beginning his real-life, post-graduation adventures. The boxes of his last 2 years are stacked in our garage along with his diploma (LOL, and there is a saucepan in one of these boxes, I was to discover). His new job provides housing and meals. He’s loving what he’s doing, is making great friends among co-workers, and is getting to live in a beautiful place. I know that his new simplified digs are truly “his nest” for now.
Last night in our cable-free Nest B, we pulled out the home movies and watched a snippet of our life, the babies who are now poised to conquer the world as young adults. We felt enormously blessed. Sure, there were some bad times, difficult times, tough times. As we watched 3 siblings tease, taunt, scream, fight, defy, and hug, we smile because they are now the best of friends, fabulous human beings, and pursuing amazing life paths. We see two parents who loved their kids, tried their best, often exhausted, and are happy that we stuck it out together even when it seemed impossible. We chose to make a home wherever the love was; we bloomed where we were planted the best we could; we endured even the times that felt “loveless” for a bigger purpose and because of a vow made. We invested in love and family and making good memories in our home.
Now we have each other and our memories, whether it’s at Nest A, or Nest B, or wherever in this big amazing world we decide to hang our hat. I contentedly fell asleep in his arms last night under the worn-out bedspread in our sparse little pit stop. I’m home. I’m a blessed woman.
And it’s a good place to be, with him.