A few good days have passed without a significant panic attack. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Help is on the way. The future looks bright again. I can dream and plan. Having fun again and looking forward to new adventures. My loyal Wizard of Oz pops in regularly to greet me.
“Good morning. Buenos dias,” I smile at him sitting in the passenger’s seat of my chocolate brown Mercedes C-class. I have dropped my little darlings off for school and am on my way commuting to Brussels. The Wizard has made himself comfortable on his pink fluffy cloud in the seat next to me. His eyes seem to light up in the dark. Very intriguing. “I spoke to 2 au-pair candidates from South Africa yesterday. Both very sweet girls. I would really like to go ahead with an au-pair. The second girl seemed slightly more experienced. Has already looked after kids and has driving license since 2 years. The first girl was more sweet but is trying to get her license this month. Neither of them can ride a bike.”
“No too dangerous to ride a bike,” the Wizard nods at me. He is a man who has seen the world. He understands what makes a person’s heart beat, and how to motivate any living soul on this planet.
“I understood that,” I tell him thoughtfully. “Funny how we take our freedom and safety for granted. They can’t roller-skate either. But really sweet girls. Are they ready to take on my bunch though? And be independent? They seem to have grown up so protected. Would it be OK to take a decision on this? I would go for the second girl.”
“Yes you ask the agent for a guarantee,” the Wizard tells me with the same confidence as if he does this every year. “The second one has no driving experience. Is that safe? You will need to teach her and keep her distances short and in the village.”
“The first one doesn’t have her license yet but going for her test this month,” I point out again that the second candidate ranked slightly higher in terms of skills and experience. “I also prefer the second one with driving experience.”
“No driving to big cities until she has some experience on the highway,” the Wizard warns me. “Plus don’t forget to explain the rule of ‘the right has right of way’.”
“I will,” I tell him thinking how hard it will be to explain all the silly rules which apply only in this little frog kingdom of Belgium. “How exciting!”
“Ah ok,” the Wizard sounds content. “That’s better.”
“They both are very family oriented,” I go on chattering gaily to him. “It seems they want to do everything with me and the kids. Or will that pass?”
“Yes and she can go on adventures with you too,” the Wizard smiles at me as if he already knows that good things are about to happen.
“Yes she did ask about my travel plans,” I muse as it triggered a sense of disappointment in me. Disappointment in myself. For the first time in a very long period I have no plans, no travel itinerary or bucket list. I have been waiting for Godot.
“No they are supposed to go to language school and go where you go,” the Wizard sounds amused. “Not to work of course but in weekend excursions and trips to Paris and Amsterdam and stuff. Day trips or holidays or weekend trips. For the rest they take care of the kids.”
“They haven’t seen much of the world,” I am still in deep thoughts wondering where I want to take my brood next. “Wonderful.”
“They have seen nothing,” the Wizard confirms once more. “This is for them an opportunity to see something. Maybe find a husband and stay. Are they white or black?”
“She was also asking about cleaning and washing,” I tell him with certain pride. What a nice girl to ask about additional chores! “I told her it would be nice if she helped with washing and ironing, but that I have a cleaner.” Then I throw a quick grin sideways: “Both white. Such sweet girls.”
“Oh cool. That’s good,” the Wizard blinks once. “Everything to do with kids she does including cooking, ironing, washing and bath. Maybe homework and definitely play time.”
“Yes,” I cheer with the happy prospect that somebody will come and help me do this wonderful adventure with my littles.
“Company for you too,” the Wizard whispers softly.
“I know,” I continue smiling all the way to Brussels. “I thought of that. No more being lonely. What should I work on? You know I am strange…” I trail off. “What should I pay attention to?”
“Like what?” the Wizard pretends he doesn’t understand what I mean.
“Like smile more, talk gently,” I am unfortunately still questioning and doubting myself. “Ah ok yes.”
“Discipline and safety for your kids,” the Wizard attempts to set me straight. I should focus on the au-pair performing well with the most valuable thing in my life: my children. “Teach her Google Analytics,” the Wizard offers up another great idea.
“Oh exciting,” I just can’t stop smiling. My good mood this morning is palpable. And such a refreshing change with the preceding days. “I will see about the Google stuff, but would be good.”
“Use her but make it fun for her and allow free time,” the Wizard is spelling it all out for me. Which is just as good. Never a great idea to make assumptions that the other knows.
“I am really happy about this,” I confirm. “Of course.”
“Yes,” the Wizard beams my good vibes right back at me. “Best thing for you.”
“What should I encourage her to do in her free time?” I want to know. I am hoping my au-pair will be happy and thrive in our little family.
“Find a hobby,” the Wizard suggests. “Go out. Introduce her to the White Rabbit. She has lots of single men friends.”
“I will introduce her to the White Rabbit,” I nod as I think this is a splendid idea. “She is lovely too.”
“They can take her out on weekends when you are with Wim,” the Wizard can see it all happening quite nicely.
“Oh yes,” I have been smiling for the past half hour now and must resemble some kind of idiot by now.
“Don’t tell the Queen of Hearts,” the Wizard suddenly pipes up in an urgent tone.
“Ah?” the sound comes straight from my gut. “I don’t talk to the Queen of Hearts anymore.”
“Good,” the Wizard sighs.
“But why not?” I enquire. It hadn’t crossed my mind to mention anything to the Queen of Hearts until the Wizard brought it up.
“Because she is in a dark place at the moment and will use you to feel important by making you scared,” the Wizard points out. “I have to run. See you later.”
“Oh no more of that,” I agree that the Wizard might be right on that count. The Queen of Hearts does have a tendency to run with my paranoia. “Thank you. Have a wonderful day.”
“You too,” he waves after me as he drifts slowly out of the car window.
* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.