I clearly remember being nine months and one day pregnant and insisting I had to flip the mattress on our bed. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it in so long. It’s supposed to be done every few months and I tend to forget it for years. If I didn’t do it before the baby came, it wasn’t going to happen for another long time. I felt a real urgency to take care of long-neglected chores; I’d already dusted the lightbulbs.

After my daughter’s birth, I laughed about my stereotypical and somewhat manic pregnant behavior. Then I did all of the same things again three years later, right before my son was born, including flipping the mattress.

I’ve never been a domestic diva. But the third trimester of pregnancy placed me in the fierce grip of the nesting instinct, nonetheless. Never had I harbored such an intense desire to have every piece of laundry done. Every inch of the house clean. Every bit of clutter disposed of. Everything. In. Order. Now.

Was it hormonal? An attempt to exercise control? A reaction to transition? Whatever the cause, I’m experiencing something similar now without the pregnancy component. I have entered perimenopause, so maybe hormones are a factor. Or maybe it’s the sense of impending transition. My kids are growing up and my mother is in her final months of life.

And I suddenly want to do all of things around my house. My husband gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look this afternoon when I, out of the blue, asked, “So when are we starting the entry room project? How about next weekend? Can we get the materials then and start?” There might have been an unhinged tone to my voice.

Perhaps part of it is seeing my mom fading. It reminds me of my own mortality. It reminds me I don’t have forever to make this house the home I dreamed of. Then, too, when she does pass – in a few weeks or months, or a couple of years if I’m feeling optimistic – people will gather here. I need the house in some kind of order. And I’d like to have it nicer for the kids  in their last little while at home.

Today I took advantage of the holiday from work to address my container hoarding. I have a teeny problem. But see, they can’t go in the curbside recycling and I do re-use them sometimes…

Hoarding? Who, me?
Hoarding? Who, me?

In case you can’t see from the photo, the Target bag is nothing but lids. ALL lids. But most of this is gone now. We can now open the cabinet doors without yogurt cartons spilling out around our feet.

I also went through every item of my mom’s that I have stored in my house. I made a list with the intention of asking her to specify who gets what when she dies. She’d already given me permission to use any practical everyday items we had here.

And here’s a reward for my work  – found in a box I’d never opened because it was marked “coffee mugs.” I figured Mom didn’t need coffee mugs at the nursing home, so I never bothered to look in the box. I should have.

My reward
My reward – 50 cups of tea

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