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The Made Bed
Contributor
Written by
lainy carslaw
May 2018
Contributor
Written by
lainy carslaw
May 2018

When I was a kid, like most kids, I found the idea of making my bed to be a ridiculous concept.  Any intelligent life form could figure out that it was pointless to make something that was just going to be unmade a few hours later.  And who was even going to see it in-between anyway?  Were secret parties going on in my bedroom while I was at school?  I don’t think so.        

When I would slam my clear, glitter jelly-shoe down in protest and whine, “why do I have to do this?”  my mom would simply answer, “Because I am your mom, and I said so.”  This sentence could vary in tone, inflection, and with a few added adjectives depending on the kind of day she was having, but the message was always the same- make the fucking bed.

So, this morning, after I came into my bedroom, saw the blankets all balled up in disarray, and I screamed down the stairs to my husband— “how hard is it to make the damn bed!?” I began to wonder when it was exactly, that I had turned into my mother.  After all, I did not care about making my bed as a kid, as a college student, or even in my first apartment.

Maybe this transformation happened when I started paying for my own house and wanted to take care of what belonged to me?  Or, maybe it was when I became a mother myself?     

I can see things so clearly now:  mothers are like over-caffeinated puppeteers grasping onto thin, almost invisible strings, as they try to maintain some semblance of control over their marionette lives.     

When we have kids who leave legos on the floor that hurt like small bee stings on bare feet, when we have kids who smush playdoh into the carpet that requires a knife to scrape it out;  when we have  husbands that leave boxers on the floor in the bathroom, and pants on the unmade bed; when we feel like every free moment we have that should be spent reading or writing or living is spent putting things back together, we being to wonder what life would be like, if they just stayed together. 

Why can’t they just stay together!

I need that bed to be made.  I mean, I really, really neeeed that bed to be made.  I need to feel like I am the one keeping it together.  Despite the ants in the pants puppet, I will not let go.  I want to see tangible proof that something is the way it should be.  I want to stand in my doorway and look into my room thinking, that’s a room I would like to walk into.  I want to step through that doorway at the end of a long day and fall onto my back while the ceiling fan hits my face and think, “Thank fucking God I do not have to make this bed.”  And when I pull the covers back to un- make my bed, I want it to be because that’s what I wanted to do—not because my kids were playing hide-and-go-seek, or turned it into a trampoline, or because my husband forgot to or he just doesn’t care.  I want to un-make it because I can and I will God-damn it and no-one can deny me this one, small satisfaction.

Why did my mom not explain this to me when I was a kid?  Why did she not trust that I would understand the symbol of a made bed?  I can picture it now—me in my thin, straggly pony-tail staring up at my mom’s big-brown eyes and nest of black hair as she explains, “Lainy, a made bed equals a successful mother.  A woman who can keep control over her own home and her own life.  Someday you will understand but for now, please, just go make the damn thing.”  Why didn’t she trust me with this age old secret passed from mother to mother all struggling for the same peace?  I wonder now, as I pull my sky blue comforter up over the matching pillow cases—why wouldn’t she just tell me? 

Then again, it’s quite possible she did. 

Maybe I just wasn’t listening.

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