I think I need to come clean here and purge myself of a little bit more of that old Catholic guilt. Amazing how, once again, I'm feeling the need to track down a priest and cry out,
"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have been using my nephew and nieces as unpaid labour and I LIKED IT. Ok, that's a lie. I LOVED IT and I want to do it again! And again!"
Seriously, my poor young relations. Their wonderful parents give them this opportunity to come stay with us, learn a bit about France, and get to know a little bit more about this wayward branch of the family. And what really comes to pass? I get them running around fetching nappies, babysitting Bubba and Rosie, cleaning up dog poop, folding laundry, and stacking firewood. Not to mention running up to the boulangerie when the poor kids don't even know how to speak French.
But it's just so nice having these kids around who are willing or just too scared not to help. We play with the dogs and talk about America, what sports they love, what music. They complain about being bored here since they don't have 15 different swim meets or lacrosse tournaments to get to on a weekend. They can't understand the shows on TV and the thought of making friends with the boy in the village who likes medieval swords is just a non-starter.
Culture shock in a bilingual manual labour camp. Summer at the Birth Control B&B.
Take poor Michael for example. Just yesterday he helped Hubster cut and stack enough wood to fill the basement while at the same time having to fight with Mini-Husband over just who was in charge when it came to the correct stacking method. He hasn't touched his lacrosse stick since it came out of his suitcase and the big day trips we had talked about doing have lacked the right "wow" factor. Overall, it's not quite the experience I think he imagined having in this land of Lance Armstrong and Le Tour.
I apologized to him over dinner how boring this experience must be, how France wasn't living up to it's exotic reputation. He gazed out over the view from our back terrace, his T-shirt discoloured by the hundreds of logs he'd helped carry all afternoon, and said,
"You know, I like France. You work hard and then you get to look at all this."
Perhaps it's been a good experience all the same.