Tijdens de zomer ontstond het plan. Of beter, groeide de behoefte. De behoefte om iets terug te doen voor alle goeds wat ik heb mogen ontvangen de afgelopen jaren. Ik merk hoe ik steeds meer het accent probeer te verschuiven van mezelf naar de ander. Laat het nu eens mijn beurt zijn om te luisteren, in plaats van te vragen en ontvangen.
Ons leven kabbelt op dit moment rustig voort en alles in mij schreeuwt dat ik daar gebruik van moet maken. En met dit blog als communicatiemiddel was de link snel gelegd: waarom zou ik niet ook hier kunnen geven? Zo ontstond het concept 'Survive your life', een manier om met mijn levenservaring wellicht iets voor een ander te kunnen betekenen.

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Me: "Boys, listen up. There is something I want to talk to you about. I need your advice. The baby sister of your friends is suddenly in the hospital again and your friends are sad. Their sister has a feeding tube and her mom has to stay with her at all times. Your friends think it's scary. Perhaps you two know how we can help them?"
BB: "What do you mean, help? It's not like we can go over there Right Now."
Me: "You can also say something, that I can tell their mom. Something like that."
LB: "Who is with them if their mama is in the hospital?"
Me: "Their dad I suppose. Do you remember when papa had a lot of tubes? What that was like?"

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And so summer went by without any noticeable viruses. Then school started: within a couple of days the teachers warned us that a stomach bug was circulating in the kindergarten classes. Great.
I perform my lice mom duties in Little Brother's class and am promptly hit. After a night of vomiting, my queasy stomach has to be ignored since I have a Lego birthday party to prepare for Little Brother. During the day Kenji begins to vomit, and as usual, on a much larger scale. As the boys and I sit down for dinner, Little Brother throws his head on the table and cries. "I cannot possibly eat without papa sitting across the table. I always look at him when I eat!" I offer to shift my chair exactly to the middle, so that both Little Brother and Big Brother will (sort of) sit across somebody. That helps.

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Yesterday Little Brother turned five. And today he is still my blue eyed baby boy - yet somehow he has truly changed overnight.
For months, perhaps even from the first time that Big Brother started his kung fu practice, Little Brother dreamed of going there too. I wasn't sure if it had to do anything with kung fu itself or that he simply wanted to do the same stuff as his brother (being envious of what the other has/does/achieves is a recurring trend so to say). I promised Little Brother we would consider it as soon as it was summer break. That should keep his mind off it - or so I thought.

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My absolute favorite part from a children's book, is the chapter in Astrid Lindgren's "Bolderburen" [The Children of Noisy Village] in which the main character Lisa gets her birthday present. On the morning of her seventh birthday, she is blindfolded by her parents and led around the house. They take a complete detour, hoping to distract Lisa even more, and when she finally opens her eyes, she is in a room she has never seen before. Her present is a new bedroom - one that turns out to be a room in the house that wasn't in use for a while and that her parents secretly decorated especially for her. It goes without saying that she is the luckiest girl in the world.
I must have been around Lisa's age when my mother read me this book and of course I would have loved a surprise like that as well! This summer I'm re-reading "Bolderburen", this time for my own boys. At first I wasn't sure if Big Brother and Little Brother would like it as much as I did, but they do. They immediately decided that Big Brother would be Lasse and Little Brother Bosse, just like the two brothers in the story.

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