Thursday, June 20, 2013

on nesting

In the Spring of 1949, just before her first baby (there would be eight more) arrived, my grandmother began nesting.  She went to the grocer down the street and asked if there were any unused crates she could take.  There was, and she left with an orange one.  A short walk later and she was asking the sales clerk at the home store if there were any leftover wallpaper scraps. There was, and she left with a small sheet of the colorful stuff.  Once home, she papered the crate with her wallpaper find and then filled it with diapers and cloths.  She was finished.
On Saturday, as my grandmother told this story, I was sitting in my aunt’s house in my hometown surrounded by dozens of gifts.  She made the joke, “It’s amazing any of our babies ever survived without all of this!”
We live in a one bedroom apartment.  Like my grandmother and grandfather (or Mum and Pa as they would be named once the first of the 18 grandchildren arrived), we don’t have much room.  Unlike my Mum and Pa, we do have stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  Onesies and burp cloths, sound machines to white out police sirens, and contraptions created specifically to clean bottles.  I am grateful for all of it, but know it’s not needed.  My Mum told a few more stories and as she did I imagined those first few years before my Pa’s law practice took off, when they were just out of school, struggling, trying to create the life they knew they could have.

lovely stuff
They ended up with that life.  With an amazing love and friendship that spanned decades.  With a thanksgiving table so overflowing that it would often spark my Pa to call out, “Look at all these beautiful people! The fruit of my loins!” Which would, undoubtedly, produce both groans and laughs around the table.
Mike won’t practice law, and I won’t sell summer houses on the north fork like my grandmother did, so I know that our lives won’t look exactly the same (and there are no intentions for 9 children).  But it’s a nice reminder that what we start with is not indicative of what we end with.  As long as we have each other, and this little person who will be joining us soon, all the rest is a bonus.  An orange crate from the grocery store, some scrap wallpaper, and a proud mom-to-be bustling around a small apartment in Queens.  That seems like enough.

33 weeks this past weekend