It took me a long time to start making my bed. As a child, it was not something required in my house. It was something saved for company, summer camp, and my one year of boarding school. In college, making my “bed,” which was really a mattress on the floor, was futile. Later, I only made my bed when I was expecting company, either a party where I would need places to put coats, or one person, where I would want my bedroom to be as inviting as possible.
Then there was the article I read that suggested you shouldn’t make your bed. You should instead let the sun shine on your bare bottom sheet to kill off germs and bed bugs. But about a year ago, recovering from cancer and surgery and managing a temporary single-parent status, I began making my bed.
I used to be a champion sleeper. In college, I could make a pot of coffee, study for a few hours, then go back to bed. But for the past 16 years, since becoming a mother, I no longer sleep. Although my children no longer require nighttime help, I remain awake and ready for the cry of the baby monitor, which is silly since it probably didn’t have batteries even when we still used it.
Now, I fall asleep easily and then wake in the middle of the night. When I was a child I hated going to bed because I was sure everything fun happened when I was asleep and my parents and older sister were still awake. Sometimes it still feels like that when I wake up in the middle of the night, like I am missing something important. Sometimes, it just feels like I have to pee.
I use several pillows to sleep. One for my legs, one for my shoulder, and one for my head. An additional pillow is needed if I want to lie on my back. My husband and I have a constant struggle over blankets and by the morning my bed looks like the scene of a very orderly pillow fight. So, now after the dogs have been out, before I begin work, I turn down the covers and top sheet, smoothing out the bottom sheet. I put all the pillows back in their place. I open the window shades and let the sun in.
When I have erased the restless night before, I do my assigned exercises, willing my body to work the way it once did. Hoping eventually that with enough sun and smoothing, I too can be put back in place.
I now understand the appeal of a made bed. It is like a bowl of fruit on the counter. A promise of something fresh and pretty. A promise of a healthier, more orderly day.