Now that I have an empty nest, I am used to having nearly complete control over my environment.
I mean, other than the mountains of dog hair and Paul’s habitual pile o’ stuff on my kitchen counters, I have a lot of control of my space.
I now wash, dry and carefully fold the towels so that they are placed neatly on the closet shelves. The beds are made. The shoes are either in the closet or neatly lined up by the door. The dishes and cups are clean and dry and waiting in their respective cabinets.
There is very little unexpected and unwelcome mess in my house.
I very very rarely come across a dirty dish on a windowsill. I am no longer surprised by a pile of muddy clothes in the bathtub.
My life is predictable.
When I open the hall closet, I know which coats and jackets I will see.
Except when I am surprised.
Delightfully, happily, joyfully surprised.
I opened the closet to grab my down jacket, planning to step outside to shovel some snow.
And there it was.
A tiny purple jacket, decorated with pink and blue hearts and circles. A puffy, warm, cozy little jacket, just right for keeping a baby girl warm.
I must have hung it up there not long ago, when I was sorting through a big bag of hand-me-down clothes. I probably put it on the hanger and nestled it into the pile of coats. Somewhere between my old bulky white coat and Paul’s blue winter jacket, it must have settled in and gotten comfy.
And I must have forgotten all about it.
When I pulled open the door and pushed aside the hangers. And there it was. Reminding me that my neat, orderly, predictable house is no longer entirely under my control. Telling me that it will soon be overtaken once again by toys and blankets and cast off cups and dirt and leaves and twigs and bandaids and juice boxes.
That pretty little jacket, hanging so sweetly in my closet, reassures me that life continues to go on here.
My nest is not quite so empty anymore.