This morning I gave the little girls a bath. “There,” I thought with satisfaction. “Now everyone is clean, so, if baby comes . . . everyone will be . . . clean?” With more than a little disappointment (and perhaps a sprinkling of irritation) I realized that children, much like laundry, dishes, and toilets, don’t stay clean. And washing them this morning was no guarantee that they wouldn’t be in dire need of a nose wipe, a diaper change, and a shirt without dinner’s spaghetti down the front by the time their new brother actually does come.
With that disheartening truth staring me full in the face, and a puddle of water and bath toys to clean up next to the tub (as well as a half cleaned-out bathroom drawer that I’d hoped they’d let me finish before clamoring to be out of the bath), I promptly found myself . . . all nested out.
After all, there has been an enormous amount of nesting going on. Except I don’t even know if it’s actually nesting at all. Proper nesting, it has always seemed to me, has something to do with some hormonal surge or subconscious intuiting that enables you to get showers scrubbed and hospital bags packed . . . and children spic and span just moments before starting in on labor. I don’t know if a forced week or two of panic about bringing order to a house in the midst of major change really counts – no matter how much scrubbing and organizing you’ve set your hands to – if it still doesn’t bring a baby. (And good heavens! Have you ever cleaned a “new” bathroom? I have. Two this very week. It isn’t nearly so dreamy as it sounds. Sawdust and . . . I don’t know . . . regular (?) dust lining the fixtures and cabinet drawers, installation grime stuck to the bathtubs, paint speckles needing scrubbed off the tile.) I feel, with each completed task equal parts utter relief that such an unexpectedly big job is cleared out of the way before I have a newborn in my arms, and betrayal that so much work isn’t being rewarded with a day or two of sitting quietly in the hospital with a new baby and nobody expecting anything of me.
I realize, of course, that it very well could be two more weeks (with my history) before this little one arrives. Logically I know I shouldn’t get overly anxious and that, even two weeks, is really only a blink of time. Mette could use all the extra cuddles I can give her (she’s been incredibly needy lately and loathe to be out of my arms). Much more can still be accomplished in getting the house settled. Messy children and dirty laundry will be happy to keep obliging any nesting instincts that reawaken within me. And . . . this is most likely the last speck of time I will ever experience pregnancy. I ought to let it be and not rush any of it. I know all of those things.
And yet . . . how can I describe it? It isn’t just that I’m incredibly uncomfortable (and I am – I want to weep nearly every time I have to so much as bend to pick up a toy or a scrap of something-or-other off of the floor). And it isn’t just that I’m anxious to see who on earth this little child is and to hold him in my arms. It also has something to do with . . . the entire culmination of everything – and what it is about to start (or maybe just continue). It has been such a wild few years of unexpected but powerful revelation, doubt and uncertainty, awe and questions. And after all of it . . . here I am! I’ve almost actually arrived (which means, of course, that I’m only just beginning), but I’ve done the part where I had to nervously climb all the ladder rungs to make it to the top of the highest high dive. I’ve even tremulously stepped one foot in front of the other and walked to the very edge of the diving platform. I’m committed enough that all there is left . . . is to jump. I know it will be frightening. And the water might be cold. And deep. (And I very likely will be treading for a long while!) But standing on the edge just looking down – all nerves and disbelief that I’m really doing this? It’s nearly too much! Surely onlookers everywhere are shouting with me the very thing that my trembling legs and racing heart are most anxious to finally do! “Jump! Just jump!”