Mother Knows Nest
NEST: (Psychology) The tendency to arrange one’s immediate surroundings to create a place where one feels secure, comfortable, or in control.
Women have been building Nests – literally and figuratively – before humans even showed up. Dinosaurs dug them. Alligators made them out of mud and vegetation, and cobras used leaves and forest litter (Eww). Rats use anything they can get their little claws on. One of my friends just found an infestation in her garage, and the she-rats had crafted Nests out of her holiday linen collection resulting in a creepy if not strangely beautiful billowy pile of red and green fluff. Divorce “upsets/overturns” a lot of things, but one of the most significant may be the Nest. We women are genetically engineered Nesters. Part of the bliss of marriage – at least for me and most woman I know – is building and keeping our Nest. We surround ourselves with pretty and comforting things that make us happy whether or not we plan to put eggs in it. If we do decide to lay anything, then the Nest becomes even more precious. There is a phenomenon appropriately called “nesting” in which women prepare their home for pregnancy. An article in the Huffington Post explores the topic and explains how scientists have been studying why women ‘Nest’ and what makes them throw out perfectly good almost-new sheets because only brand new ones will do. Nesting tendencies seem to be enhanced with creativity. My best friend of 25 years is an advertising creative director and like me, she undergoes a visceral reaction when her Nest (or a lover’s nest) is not aesthetically pleasing. Every time she moves, she rebuilds a better Nest than the one before and it’s always a work in progress. When I visit her all is right with the world. In every room, I feel nurtured and smiley and serene from the cloud bed and the velvety robe on the back of the door – to the artisan wine glasses and the lavender kitchen soap. As a writer, I like things to flow, connect and make sense. A random lamp with an ill-fitting shade not situated next to a reading chair is a like a dangling participial. Upon my divorce, my world and my Nest were turned upside down. Knocked out of the tree. My ex ended up getting the Nest and found a new mama bird and a new egg. I will never forget the feeling of driving around with my dislodged little 5-year old bird looking for a new Nest. We settled on a furnished home of a stylish Swedish designer who had young children and was living abroad temporarily. It was more expensive than we wanted, but when we walked in after touring way-too-many bachelor pads, my son yelled, “Mommy! All the other places look like just boys live there. This is where a FAMILY lives!” “We’ll take it,” I told the agent. We lived and loved in that Nest for two years and treated it like it was ours. The Swedish bird family moved back home, and once again my son and I went in search of ‘sticks and straw’. We happen to live in one of the most expensive tree zip codes in the U.S., so it’s a small and temporary Nest but it’s safe and cozy. My son toggles between his two loving Nests, and when he is gone and I’m lonely, I fill my Nest with friends or frequent theirs. One day when he goes off to college (not optional) and I become the proverbial empty-nester, I will make damned sure that he will always have a happy place to land when he comes home.