I was coming back from the laundromat and ran into Julie, a young woman who used to wait tables in the café I frequented about 5-6 years ago. In particular I would go to this café after dropping off my youngest daughter at her creche. I would sort of crash-land at the table near the window around 9 am and drink coffee until my brain jumped-started again. As I did this nearly every morning for several years, the staff and I got to know each other.
Now Julie has a baby of her own, little Simon. He's about 1 year old. She was pushing him in one of those three-wheeler jobbies that everyone has these days. She looked terrible! She said she was up three times last night. The baby's teething. And the same thing the night before that and the night before that. "God, I know," I said, "I've been there -- twice, in fact." And we chatted for a while, until she said she was dying for a coffee, and if I know anything it's that you don't get in the way of a young mother and her cup of coffee.
And as I went on my way I was suddenly struck with a sense of accomplishment. It's a rare sensation, maternal accomplishment. I knew as soon as it hit me I'd have to write about it. But it's true: I've been there -- twice -- and did it and survived. How amazing is that! Now I'm someone who can say "Courage" (in a french accent!) to other people... And go home and be so glad I don't have to go through that again!