We take care of so many people. When do we stop to take care of ourselves? I have been thinking on this question since Saturday’s Soup Exchange.
My children are adults now. So I don’t often have occasion to see my old mom-friends from our kiddo’s elementary school days. But, as you may know, those relationships are warm, deep and enduring. The years of bringing up our little ones are full of poignant moments shared, mundane moments endured together, stressful moments relieved by friendship. So we were all looking forward to the Soup Exchange.
Sandra planned this brilliant idea. She made soup for our lunch, plus a nice bread, fruit salad and the requisite fave- big chocolate chip cookies. The other five of us each made a big pot of soup at home and poured it into five Tupperware containers to give to each other. We put our Tupperware and recipes in our big handled bags and converged at Sandra’s.
Friends were met with hugs and kisses. We were all looking for Caroline. During the can-you-come and what-soup-are-you-bringing emails, Caroline had written with the news that she was nursing her husband who was very ill with cancer. She said that she was tired and cranky but this lunch was just what she needed.
Caroline arrived, fit and trim in a purple dress, flip-flops on her feet. As she started to explain her incongruous footwear we saw it- the reason. Her feet were full of red, fresh cuts, including a large wedge just above the Achilles tendon. Her leg was slashed with red lines from foot to above the knee, and there was a bandage on one finger.
That morning, Caroline got out of the shower and the glass door wouldn’t slide on the track. With more strength than she realized, and I am sure more frustration and fury than she knew were in her, she wrestled the door and it popped out of the track, shattering into hundreds of glass shards all around her naked body.
So what did she do? She did what we do. She cleaned up, swept up, mopped up, then she got dressed, packed her soup and came to lunch.
We spoke our concern, we touched her arm, her back. We sat her on the sofa and Sandra put a towel down for the blood as her cuts opened up whenever she crossed her legs. We put a butterfly bandage on the worst cut, and we listened to bad news.
And we’ll be taking over more soup.