Sometimes it’s surprising how life twists back around upon itself, winding in coils that have you revisiting things you thought you had left, re-finding connections that would have seemed preposterous if proposed initially. Last week I went to visit my friend Marilyne in Lyon, and the fact that she and I are friends can only be described as one of those strange coincidences that fills the lives of those who believe in greater perspectives. Her mom grew up in the same tiny town where my family is from before moving to France after college. She eventually married a Frenchman who would become a pastor of a tiny church in northern Paris and have three daughters. Years later, I moved to France and sought that church out, only to find within its walls the French people who I still love today, including her daughter Marilyne, who had even briefly attended the same elementary school as me during a year with her aunt in Kentucky. But it didn’t stop there. Marilyne eventually fell in love and the two came to visit me in DC before spending Thanksgiving and Christmas eve with my family in Kentucky. And then on Christmas eve, in the same spot where I would celebrate my wedding 7 months later, Ismaël proposed. They visited James and I on their American honeymoon, squeezing into our little home. And now, a year later, I took the train down to Lyon to spend a couple days in their little home, letting life twist back on itself again. Here are some snippets from my quick trip to Lyon. //Let’s be honest: I am kind of a Paris snob. I have visited other places in France, but I do tend to stick to Paris. But oh man, was Lyon lovely. We ate the first night at a guingette beside the river, a nice break from the noise of Paris, and I spent most of my visit just marveling at how clean, lovely, green, and hilly Lyon is. // //The view the hill overlooking the city… and the walk down.// //As France jumped from cold to SO HOT in like a day, we obviously had to stop for ice-cream before noon. We stumbled on the cutest place in the old part of the city that had at least a million flavors, among which were exciting things like the one I am holding that is poppy flavored. As in the flower. Made into ice cream. Poppy also happens to be one of my favorite French words – coquelicot – and, surprisingly, I don’t usually get to use it.// //Sunlight through stained-glass slays me every time. // //À la prochaine, Lyon. Till next time. //
- "Art rediscovers, generation by generation, what is necessary to humanness. " -John Gardner
Lately, on InstagramIn the home stretch of our last day of summer vacation before I go back to (part-time 🙌💃) work next week. Because Henry (and I- Etta is a love nugget who chills wherever) are both crazies who need more freedom than our little space allows, we have made it out every single scorching day to explore this city. It’s been hard and good and here’s what I’ve learned to survive hours out with two tiny people, primarily on foot: 1. Do not fear the heat and humidity. They are your allies, as they are akin to the womb and will knock your baby out so hard for the longest and best of stroller naps, before doing the same to your toddler when you arrive home. 2. You can’t control toddler emotions. You can purchase iced beverages and pretend like you have it together. 3. Bring enough snacks to constitute lunch. Start doling then our around 10am, progressive tapas style. This helps moods stay positive, and means your toddler does not need lunch upon getting home and can be hurled into Nap Land STAT. 4. Embrace any and all water. Splash pad, pool, puddle, neglected garden hose- ALL ARE GIFT. 5. Throw a big bag in the stroller. You start the day with a tidy diaper bag that contains multitudes, but when everyone is melting down and you have to break down the stroller, stow it in the car, get the baby in the carrier, store the scooter, climb the many steps, and get all the thousand things you tossed in the bottom of the stroller in- this is no time for order. 6. Just get the aerosol sunscreen. And the packaged veggie pouches. And the cheese sticks. Decide that you have nothing to prove and don’t waste time trying. 7. Leave early. Leave now. Don’t think- just GET OUT. 8. Remind yourself that the hard and the hauling and the sweating and the intense toddler negotiations all over this city are preferable to the same ordeals...condensed in a small apartment. And the hard parts fade in memory and only the good remains. #iamthiskindofmomIf you have a Henry, I hope you get an Etta. A baby to show you how much easier and quieter and calmer it can be. A baby willing to fill all the spare places and moments with sweetness and steady grace. And if you have an Etta, I pray you get a Henry. Not just to humble you, but to push you further than you ever thought you could go every single day. Love this duo.