August 31, 2016 § 1 Comment
In the park I sat on a bench and tried to recover from having failed as a mother twice in only three days. On Monday my son and I had a terrible argument about him not doing his homework right after school but fooling around until he was too tired to do any. And today, although I had introspectively decided all the things I’d like to improve on myself as a mother in order to handle the situation better, I only managed to yell at him slightly milder… I was frustrated and the beauty of the park in the late afternoon sun was not enough to make me feel better.
Behind my bench a young girl around my son’s age was playing badminton with her mother who had placed her hijab for the occasion over her shoulders in order to be able to play better; she was my age. A younger woman, with her hijab on, was sitting on a picnic blanket reading and typing on her smartphone. Suddenly the badminton ball was caught in a high branch of a tree over them. The young girl repeatedly but unsuccessfully tried to shake the branch by throwing at it a basketball ball they also had with them. The mother tried too but the tiny feather ball kept playing the bird. I used to be a good volleyball player so I thought targeting with the ball might be easier for me and so I went there to help. I already had suspected that the women were Syrian refugees but I got sure after I did get the ball down for them and they could only keep repeating “Danke, Danke”. I smiled as friendly as I could and went back to the bench and my frustrated solitude.
A few minutes later I felt someone approaching. It was the younger woman who was holding a box with sweets she now offered to me. They looked like tiny baklava and kaidaifi, familiar to Greeks and Turks, with peanut pieces on them. She told me their Syrian name but I cannot recall. She told me hers too and I can recall that. I ate and enjoyed the sweet and offered her the seat next to me. She told me that she had came over the Aegean and the Balkan route on foot. Her husband came later by car. (I guess one of the illegal and dangerous refugee transports in trucks.) She was learning German every day and was happy to have made it. She invited me to sit and eat something together with the other women–there were two more on the picnic blanket now. I declined feeling guilty to sit any longer with them while my son was waiting at home for me to say goodnight. I had left him with his dad but I knew he was waiting.
I said goodbye and went back home. My goodnight story for my son was the Badminton story which he loved. A good friend told me the other day that thankfully every day has also an expiration date. He is right of course.