10 years ago I was pushing the twin-stroller on my way to my grandmothers house, a 2-yr old by my side, making slow progress. I watched two ladies coming my way, one a (Surinam, I guess you would say African-American) nurse from a nearby home and an elderly lady shuffling next to her.
The younger of the two looked at the babies, took one hard look at me, posed herself with her hands on her hips, wiggled one finger in front of my nose and said:
"Hey girl, are ya taking good care of yourself? Because when the mama ain't happy, the babies aren't happy either. You have to look after yourself ya hear?" She looked at me again, patted me on the shoulder, winked and on she went, coaxing the elderly lady away.
Ever since, I advocate that sentence to every mother in distress I come across, knowing in my heart she was so right. But what was that saying again? Practice what you preach? Or rather, do as I say not as I do?
I think I am an example of the "in-between" generation. Too old to lead my own life, incorporating the children as I go ("they will become completer persons when they have to fend for themselves, the sooner the better"), too young to completely efface myself without a doubt.... So I struggle along, trying to invent my own mix-version.
Why this story now? Because December is knocking at our door, I'm having a "me-day" tomorrow, and I find myself fussing over the children, how are they going to get to school on time, how will I know they arrive there safely, are they going to be fine after school, their older brother has to pick them up from school, won't he forget to do so? And, when they are home, just the three of them, won't they argue and fight all the time? They can reach me -and their father- by phone but I will be miles and miles away.... Hmm, this is not about them, this is about me, I am a guilt ridden control-freak trying to convince herself this day tomorrow is goooooood! They will be doing fine, and I know in my heart there is a village full of safety net. Thankfully.
In preparation for Thanksgiving, (and for us here in the Netherlands Sinterklaas) please, take care of yourself, don't forget to enjoy your family and friends and don't feel quilty when you haven't found the time to prepare a 7-course dinner all by yourself, looking like Linda Evangelista when you serve it to your family and have your house sparkle and decorated like you were Martha Stewart all at the same time!
Note to self: Read this over and over again in the coming days untill Christmas!
And..set your watch at the right date, you're a day late!