Made the bed

I’m barely out of the breakfast zone, and my day is already moving in shards. Cleaned the print heads so I could print one page clearly; folded and stacked some shirts; frothed soap in the water-bottle and left it to soak because I don’t want to use the brush, booted my laptop so I can read my homework… eventually… . I put antihistamine drops in my eyes, but haven’t gone back yet to brush my teeth or put in my contacts.

I don’t like these day-flows. I think it’s not just because I don’t seem to complete anything; I think it’s that I carry a sense of looming over-looked-ness—what have I begun and forgotten? Because I’ve begun so many different things…

But. I made my (our) bed.

Admiral McRaven made a big noise in My Fair City and beyond when he recommended that everyone make their bed every day. Truthfully, I’m made-bed agnostic. My mother’s-mother required it, which I found annoying: everything smoothed as if it had been pressed with weights, the big stiff coverlet beautifully squared and covering the pillows just so, the fashion doll from the 1940s sitting in a pouf of taffeta skirt exactly in the center. Only then could I go swimming, sigh. Making my bed was not a hill my mother wished to take, so I didn’t have to do this at home. (Mom saved her energy for regularly changing the sheets, a move I respect.) And certainly in my college and early-adult years, nobody gave a tinker’s damn whether I made my bed or not.

However, about ten years ago or so I changed my ways.

Some of it came in the wake of hormone-induced night sweats that left my side of the bed chill and damp. I’d read a treatise that recommended flipping the bedclothes back each morning, to air out the bed—this proved a happy medium between dampness (a non-starter!) and changing the sheets every dang day. But once the sheets are draped over the end of the bed, there’s no quick sliding in at bedtime until all is restored. That is, now one has to make the bed.

But more of it came via My Sweetie. Perhaps that was a stressful time—My Sweetie, like the rest of my household (can I still say that?), tends while sleeping to roll up like a caterpillar in times of stress. What I knew was the outward result: waking up half-sheeted, unable to free enough drape to cover my shoulder, much less the exposed half of my body.

So I made the bed in self-defense. If I could at least re-set the playing field in the morning, perhaps I could get to the following day with enough covers to stay sleeping all night-? And it’s been successful.


While I was bustling around performing my pieces-parts, I breezed around my aired bed. My hands were empty, so I began at the foot, twitching the top-sheet and blanket back from where My Sweetie had accordion-pleated them to the mid-line. Smoothed the base, adjusting the vertical balance between what goes over the feet and what curls around the neck. Roughly pulled the sheet smooth-ish, next the blanket, to crumple at the base of the pillows—I may make my bed, but I don’t go to the lengths my Ganmommy required. I am, after all, sympathetic to the bed non-makers’ cri de coeur: it’ll all have to be done again tomorrow! And as I did the last steps, I thought about the long day I’ll have, and My Sweetie will have, before we slide between the sheets again… . At least this one thing will be ready to welcome us.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

Maybe I have more in common with Admiral McRaven than I thought.

If you passed this by in its viral moment (I did!), I encourage you to take a listen. It is equal parts tart and encouraging—which turns out to be a helpful bonus for this writer today. (Approx. 20 minutes)


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