Time for the middle generation

Similarly to many of you, I spend my days and weeks and months doing things for others. Whether it is driving my children to activities, visiting an elderly friend or transporting her to an appointment, or just routine errands to keep the family organized – I have to make an effort to do something for myself, the middle generation.
I usually am able to carveout some personal time each week to destress with my yoga class. Either a hair cut or pedicure happens every other month- although it lessens my guilt factor if I think of it as necessary maintenance instead of an indulgence.
Eventually though, maintenance doesn’t work and things do break down. I recently replaced my old couch with a shiny new one. I sent my wool carpet for a professional cleaning and I hired an upholstery shop to recover my torn cushions. In the midst of all this home maintenance, I realized I better follow the instructions of the airlines: “put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.”
You see, all this time I have been suffering from what I assumed was a pulled muscle on the inside of my knee. I figured if I didn’t push myself too hard, it would heal on its own. Well, four months later and the regret of having missed opportunities to play tennis with my husband, take a boot camp class with my sisters, or hike down to a waterfall with my daughter finally convinced me to take care of it.
The orthopedist determined I had a torn meniscus. After so much time, he felt that arthoscopic surgery was my best option. Because I had done some research, as well as spoken to family members who had had the procedure, I decided to schedule the operation.
Of course, that meant I spent the days leading up to it stocking groceries, doing loads of laundry and rescheduling lessons or carpool arrangements so that I could be “off duty” for several days.
But here I am, sitting on the couch, not worrying about cleaning up dishes or making dinner or picking anyone up from school because this is my time to be cared for. My husband set me up with a carafe of coffee and my ice packs before he left for work, members of my family from across the US have called or emailed to check on my progress (besides, they probably see this as a great chance to catch up since I won’t be running off anywhere anytime soon) and my kids have offered to bring me drinks or snacks or help with the driving while I am out of commission.
So as much as I enjoy my independence and being able to help others, I am glad I have put myself first and allowed myself to ask for help. Thankfully it should only be a few days, but I have to remember I deserve this special treatment and enjoy it while it lasts.