Sometimes people say they are amazed at what I manage to do and they wonder how I cope. I do have a very busy life, as I illustrate in this post A day in the life of a Mother in France. However, I have the privilege of largely choosing the life I lead. It’s stressful at times, sometimes I moan, occasionally I feel like I can’t take any more, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A conversation I had recently really brought this home to me and reminded me just how lucky I am.
I was chatting to a couple of friends, the conversation went something like this:
Me: “Oh my god, I’ve just been so busy running around organising everything for Christmas. My house is a mess, I’m so behind with the housework and no one can find any socks!”
Friend 1: “Oh I know, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done and I’m away next week.”
Friend 2: “I’m the same, I have piles of washing that need sorting and the house is in chaos . I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet and can you believe there’s only two weeks to go!”
I’m sure many of you can relate to this as women the world over are running around like headless chickens trying to create the perfect Christmas for their families (just like the ad on TV). But, although we were making the same noises, there were some big differences in the circumstances of the friends I was talking with. Friend number 1 and I have fairly similar lives in that we both have children at school and we both work and are involved with lots of different activities. We were running ourselves ragged because that is what we had chosen to do. We set ourselves impossible tasks of trying to make everything perfect when we could probably cut out quite a few things and make life easier for ourselves. Friend number 2 however, had recently come out of hospital, where she’d been for two weeks with her nine year old son who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. This is not a life she has chosen for herself, it’s just what has been dealt to her. The previous day she’d spent the afternoon helping out at a local event raising money for the ‘Telethon’, a big charity event here in France and on this particular day she was helping out at the Christmas Fayre I had organised to raise funds for CF. Here we were moaning about how little time we have to do the things we have chosen to do, but for friend number 2, there is no choice. She has to cope with what life throws at her, try and put on a brave face and hold it all together for her family. She battles on despite having to cope with more than most of us can ever imagine.
I really don’t know how friend number two copes with all that she has to and what is even more incredible is how she is always helping others without question or fanfare. She even feels guilty if her own circumstances dictate that she can't help someone in need. Now there is an amazing woman who has no idea just how special she is.