Each day this month, I've written a letter. I've written to just about everyone in my immediate vicinity. My family members, nuclear and extended, each got a turn, many of them more than one. I wrote to my girlfriends, my hairdresser, my son's teacher. Even the construction workers outside the apartment got one.
And then it dawned on me - why not you? Er, me.
In many ways saving you for last is representative of life right now. You are caring for small children basically full time, and it's not about you, it's about them. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a complaint. They are your life, your gift. But it means that self-care has not been at the top of your list.
But what I'm realizing lately is self-care is not an optional indulgence. It's a necessity. For, you see, when you care for yourself, you create a happier, healthier being with more energy and space to care for others.
Yesterday, for the first time in a looooong time, you went for a run. You decided, today was the day. So, you laced up your shoes, informed your husband that he was taking the kids for a half hour before he went to work, and out you went. You went because you wanted to have more energy, less stress, and to sleep better. I think you will get all of those things. But what you realized, out there, running totally unencumbered, with the sun glinting off the water and warming your face, is that getting out there for those few daily minutes will give you so much more than that.
While you were running, you remembered that underneath your motherhood, your wifehood, your adulthood, you are still you. You still love the things you always loved. You are layers and layers of memories, joys, wants, needs, comforts, and sorrows. You remembered all of the times and places you've been running before, and you realized you're still just like the twenty year old girl who traveled to New Zealand for student teaching, still the thirty-two year old who was running every day in Central Park when you met the love of your life and walked a cliff toward huge, magnificent change. You remembered that anything is possible.
You came back from that short run, and you felt recharged. You were more loving with your husband, more patient with your children. How could anyone begrudge you that? And no one ever did, no one except yourself.
So, take care of yourself. Get a pedicure rather than catching up on work when the babysitter is here. Read a novel instead of organizing the toy chest while the kids are napping. Lay in bed after the kids go to sleep and let husband have dinner on his own. Above all, get out there for that run.
It's been quite a month, filled with writing, and filled with connections, realizations, and tributes. As I wrap up today, I can't help but think that writing has also been part of my self care. To my Two Writing Teachers co-writers, in particular our fearless leader Stacey Shubitz, I thank you and adore you. To my fellow Slicers, I so appreciate all you do and your willingness to undertake this intrepid journey. Hope to see you on a Tuesday soon.