Today I was making lunch for three people I care about.
One was my aunt who is spending the days at the hospital with my Uncle who is not well. Every day she goes and spends the afternoon and evening and then home again. It was my turn to take her back and forth today so I made her some lunch to nibble on. A nice sandwich on rye bread, some cut up cucumbers with some salt sprinkled on them in the bag in case she couldn’t get hold of salt, a juice box, some water and a little container of fresh raspberries from our garden all carefully packed in a pretty little thermal lunch container.
The other two are the men who are working in our yard today. One is my partner, Bee, who is rototilling the garden, cutting the grass in the swamp and doing some final touches on the little shed at the back that he has been fixing. Helping him is a friend of ours who likes to spend some of his long hours of retirement just helping Bee do a some of things that need to be done. They got ham on hand sliced cheese bread, tomato wedges,cucumber slices and a little hunk of a spiced, cooked sausage. I wrapped the plates carefully in plastic and put them in the fridge in the barn beside the assortment of drinks they could chose from. There was note on the patio table, held down by the salt and pepper shaker, telling them where to find their food when they made their way to the house from the field.
What they had is likely of little importance to my tale except to say that while I was doing this elaborate planning and preparing I suddenly realized I would likely never take such care preparing something for myself and that realization made me think perhaps I need to change my ways.
When I explained yesterday that I would be taking care of transporting my Aunt for a couple of days to my friend she said, “There you go taking care of everyone else again.”
Yup! That is what I do. I take care of other people without even thinking about. I rearrange my own priorities, I buy things I know they will love, I go out of my way to make them comfortable and the only expectation I have of them is a simple thank you or the occasional smile.
I’m not alone. That is what most women do. We are the nurturers. We are also often prone to forget to look after ourselves. We do not give ourselves the care and comfort we offer to others so freely.
After months of running for other people I have been taking some time for myself this month. I’ve made a few changes that are more about self care: sleeping in a bit, reading something I don’t have to read, making myself a wonderful coffee part way through the day in my new French press, but it is all done with some measure of guilt attached as if I don’t deserve it because I’m taking time for me. I don’t know if I can change that guilt to pure enjoyment but tomorrow I’m going to make lunch for myself and see if I can have it without feeling like someone else should be eating it.