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 are too close to the couch, so the couch has to be moved as well. There is a stain on the couch that needed to be scrubbed off, and the floor really needs 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 his clothes 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– it’s 4:35 AM. 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 and in the kitchen. Clanging pans. Now my husband is up. Staggering around in his robe, he squints 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. Okay, 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. Nesting. I was like this twice before– shortly before each of my daughters were born. The first time it ever came on, I was caught in the backyard 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.

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 my son’s bed to be full, another chair at the table, and a sound of new laughter in my ears.