Tonight we had invited Cécile, Ian’s godmother. She and I go a long way back. At the age of six, we were classmates and little friends. As we grew up though, we drifted apart. At the age of twelve, I traded our cosy village school for a high-school in a bigger city. Later on, we studied at different universities, after which I worked abroad for a couple of years. But somehow we re-connected when we were in our twenties. When I was pregnant with Ian, it didn’t take me a lot of thinking to decide on who I would like to be Ian’s godmother. A godmother is someone who can inspire a child, at different stages through life. Someone who holds up a high level of ethics. Someone who I know will remain a close friend. Cécile accepted without hesitation. I have never had second thoughts about our choice. Throughout the years, the intensity of her and Ian’s activities has varied. Yet, the bond which has been forged from Ian’s young age looks as if it is there to stay.
Cécile lives by herself in an apartment in a city. She is highly sensitive, and one of the most organized people I know. Quite different from this perfect storm of our busy family and professional schedules, our ever-needy yet beautiful garden, the continuous flow of friends of our children in and out of the house. And not to forget, the equally continuous flow of things that come with the horse riding. Saddles, horse boots, gear, blankets: one is never out of smelly stuff brought back from the stables and that requires cleaning before being put away. Someone told me that horse riding is more than a hobby, it’s a way of living. And over the years, I have learned that such is very true. Owning horses is incredibly rewarding mentally and physically, but also very time consuming. I should gradually be able to count on our children to help me with this less glamorous part of being a horse owner. Yet, wonderful people as they are, they are the biggest mess-makers I have ever met. From a young age, Lise would change dresses a couple of times a day. I mused that puppets magically disappeared at different places in the house, leaving behind a small heap of clothes on the floor. Today, too often the children’s rooms look as if they were just robbed. Elisabeth tells me all teenagers need some form of rebellion. A messy room is one many parents would opt for. She’s right.
Cécile coming over to our place for dinner has always been cosy and informal: together with Aidan, we enjoy lengthy conversations accompanied by good food. The children drift in and out, appreciating the atmosphere surrounding Cécile’s visits. With Cécile, there is no need to pretend. But due to the uncertainty I am facing, I am living through the days in a sort of haze. Anything that requires an additional input from my side equals a hurdle I seek to avoid. This includes receiving friends, also those I’m really close to like Cécile. So yesterday, I called her up to share my misadventures and cancel our dinner. She was shocked. It’s those terrible situations one wishes one could undo, knowing one can only try to soften things from the sideline. “Call me whenever you need me. I mean it, okay?” she tries to assure me. “I will, thank you Cécile.” I reply.