Monday, October 21, 2013

Making the bed

Just one normal thing each day.

I love a made bed. I especially love getting into a made up bed at the end of the day. I've never liked getting back into a rumpled bed after a long day. It just feels wrong and messy. Even if I do nothing else useful all day, making the bed proves that I accomplished one thing, however menial.

When I went off to college, making my bed every day became a necessity. It wasn't always in the morning, when I first got out of bed. I am most definitely not a morning person. In fact, more often than not it was probably afternoon, once classes were over and I wasn't rushing like mad to get out the door, that my bed got made. But I would always make up the bed before sitting down to study or write papers. It was a functional necessity for my education. An organized room meant an organized mind.

Recently, working at home, it's become just as imperative to my productivity that I  pull up the bedding and plump the pillows before accomplishing any "real" work. Now it is actually one of the first things I do, since I'm usually not rushing off anywhere -- except to take a pee and get some breakfast before sitting down at my computer. I love that immediately I can check something off my mental task list right at the start, and it makes my whole house feel tidier. 

Add to those practical reasons a heavy burden of grief, and making the bed has become a staple form of therapy. Comfort is found in routine and participating in "normal" activities, when so many other aspects of life no longer seem normal. Some days are much easier than others, for sure. But many days I fear I would just get right back in bed if I didn't make it up. It has become the signifier that the day has begun, and there is no going back. "You're up, you can do this, keep going."

Until today it never occurred to me that making my bed was something that was always on the chore list growing up, without fail. My dad stressed neatness in our personal spaces even more than my mom. She's the one that worries about the house being clean for company, but she always tended toward the parenting principle that our rooms were our sanctuaries and were ours to keep (within reason) to our own standards. However, bed-making was an item that was always at the top of those daily lists made out by my dad and begrudgingly followed by his children.

People say I will find ways to keep my dad close, even though he isn't physically here with us anymore. They say that I can be comforted by knowing he's always going to be apart of who I am, and that I will always carry him with me. Maybe it's a stretch, but in this small task - ingrained in me by my father - I find this to be true. And I find it to be comforting.

I will happily make my bed everyday with you in mind, Dad. We will start each day together.

1 comment:

  1. It seems impossible to appropriately "comment" on this, because the reality and the emotions and your writing go beyond what can be encompassed in a blog. But. This is a beautifully written description of how you are keeping your dad close, and I appreciate you sharing it. Praying for you and your family.