I wrote an article a few weeks ago outlining a few things about myself. Since I have been down here for quite a few decades (gasp!) I could not possibly have written everything about myself. So I now confess that apart from my fascination with driving, I love Batman. Yes, as a grown professional woman, I really do like a Marvel comic character. I do not have any memorabilia in my house neither do I have a costume hidden in my closet. Let me just get that out there. I just really like Batman. Perhaps it is his strong silent-type persona, or maybe how he lived through childhood tragedy to become a hero to many that caught my attention. However, now that I think about it, given my fascination with cars it could simply be the ‘Batmobile’.
As I thought about Batman, it came to me that if I were a character on the show, I would have to be ‘The Juggler’. My character would be physically fit, wearing a sleek black and purple outfit to complement Batman’s outfit, and I would be incessantly juggling objects large or small to rid the world of villains. After all, this is what I do on a daily basis, isn’t it?
I get up in the morning and I say my prayers, and I am not ashamed to say that I have not reached sainthood as yet so some mornings are better than others. As my feet hit the ground, I pick up the first ball that of what should be prepared for breakfast. En route to the kitchen, I literally pick up another ball so that no one in the house trips over a toy left in the middle of the corridor.
Having decided upon the day’s first meal I am pretty much on top of things and I pick up another ball – trying to get the children up and ready for school. This particular ball is neither small nor perfectly shaped for several reasons. The children have different personalities; on any given day, they would prefer to go anywhere but the shower, they don’t want what was prepared for breakfast (too bad!) and the allure of toys seems to derail any progress made with respect to leaving home on time.
Enter ball number three – the battle of getting to school and work. I remarked to a friend the other day that one day soon, I might reverse out of my driveway and find myself in traffic. We try to find the best route and as we drive in our trusty chariot, I find that juggling has begun to wear me down. I am the co-pilot as my husband drives; I referee the verbal matches going on in the back whilst thinking ahead to what awaits me at the office.
If I thought that the children’s ball was heavy, I was wrong. The ball of daily fatigue makes the children’s ball seem like child’s play. The task of mustering up enough energy to concentrate on keeping all these balls in the air is not for the fainthearted. Physical fatigue is bad enough but with rest that eases up satisfactorily. Mental fatigue and all its hidden facets is a phenomenon that requires its own encyclopaedia.
By this time, I have forgotten how many balls I am trying to keep in the air. I would have picked up notices of meetings at the school, the idiotic driver who has no regard for other road users, the school children with obviously empty school bags getting into public service vehicles going in the opposite direction to their schools at an already late hour, and trying to remember whether I packed my water bottle.
I love mathematics. I am almost ashamed to say that as entertainment during my hospitalization whilst pregnant with our daughter, I was doing CXC past Mathematics papers. Accounts, on the other hand, that subject makes me nervous and if I could get through business life without having anything to do with accounting, I would be so happy. However, in the real world, I pick up the ball of business responsibility and nearly keel over.
As I am about to make an indelicate connection with the floor after succumbing to the weight of all the balls I am trying to juggle, I realise that I have forgotten to pick up one very important ball. For most persons that ball is the smallest one we try to juggle. Whilst the other balls are mammoth and require huge muscles and exceptional dexterity to juggle, the ball of self-care is the size of a ping pong ball.
I do not, in the foreseeable future, expect a part as ‘The Juggler’ in any upcoming Batman series yet I must continue in this role as long as I am alive and in reasonably good health. Therefore, I must choose my balls carefully. Although the self-care ball is currently the smallest in my life and I stick my neck out and say in many of your lives, I will endeavour to choose that one first. It is in so doing that I am able to juggle the remaining balls with a respectable level of efficiency.
If I am well rested and feeling calm, then I am less likely to be short with my family members and friends; I am able to think more clearly and problem solving becomes less of an encounter with a Sumo wrestler and more of an expression of creativity; my general health improves and the likelihood that I see my children reach adulthood increases. In the Bible in Ecclesiastes it speaks about there being a time for everything and it behoves us as individuals to determine for ourselves such times and things.
My fascination with Batman will continue as several times during the writing of this article scenes from the movies flashed across the screen of my mind and I kept hearing the theme song over and over. Cheers to the Dark Knight!
(Renee Boyce is a medical doctor, a wife, a mother and a Christian, who is committed to Barbados’ development. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org)