Thursday, May 26, 2011

This One

There are a lot of people in the village who like to tell us how wonderful The Princess is, how sweet she can be with the other kids and what a pleasure she is to have around. They tell us how she said a kind word or helped with something simple. They tell us how sharp she is and how she's got such a strong character. I love hearing these things because she is all this. And more.

She's sensitive and strong, this one. She watches and listens and gets it. I mean really, really gets it. She has this uncanny ability for a such a young child to sense that there is more going on than meets the eye. She observes, takes it in, and doesn't mince words. For example, when The Man moved back in after our quick separation, she's the one who looked him straight in the eye and said, "you were a jerk." She nails me too, it must be said, frustrated when I stop to chat with all and sundry or when I forget things, as I often do.

She's fed up with her brothers, can't deal with Rosie touching her toys, isn't so sure about falling off those ponies, and hates stinging nettles. She has a fierce temper and isn't afraid to use it. She summons up all of her now 8 year old self and goes storming off screaming, just so that you know she really isn't happy.

She can't resist dogs, donkeys, or cats and wants desperately to have a French bulldog. She does cartwheels and handstands in the grocery store, on the ferry to England, and waiting for her favourite TV shows to start. I can see her doing acrobatics on circus horses, smiling broadly, eyes glowing with joy.

The Princess is like sunshine. I can't imagine a day without her and we're ever so grateful that she's here.

Happy Birthday, our beautiful girl.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Favourite Painting at the Musée d'Orsay

Madame Jeantaud au miroir, Edgar Degas, oil on canvas, 1875

So, is she as we see her, as the painter sees her, or as she sees herself?

Are any of us as we really think we are?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Somewhere Beyond This Side of the Sea

I live in a bucolic wonderland and these spring days only make it worse. The brilliancy of the sky, the colours of the fields, all the flowers, & the intensity of the scenery is everything you'd expect from one of those impressionist paintings. It's beyond gorgeous. I kid you not, there is nothing like France. Just give me a glass of wine & let me sit in the lazy sunshine to watch the flies go by, captured in time, by this magical place...

But here's the funny thing... I so want out.

Out of this beauty, out of this country, out of this life.

I'm having near daily urges to pack up the tribe, grab The Man, and book a direct flight to the tackiest place I know on earth. The place that screams "tat" and frightens civilized people. A place that is no more than a sand-bar in the Atlantic, with enough tourist shops, malls, putt-putt golf centers, and pizza joints to make your head spin. It's tacky, it's covered in concrete and neon signs, and it's about as far away as you can get from a dream vacation on the beach.


Here I am literally aching, itching, and desiring with all my heart to be back in that place.

I want to sit by the sea and listen to other parents yell at their kids in English. I want to know that I can get a cheeseburger at 4 in the afternoon and no one will think I'm nuts. I want to go out in my sweatpants & flip flops and actually look over dressed. I want to walk into a bookstore and freak out because everything is in English. I want to watch The Man try and hole-in-one that stupid flamingo at the 136th Street mini-golf course.

I need beer coozies with the town's name tattooed all over them. I want to get steamed crabs and throw them all over the front porch of my parents' apartment and watch as the seagulls try and catch the empty shells. I want to hear Bubba, The Princess, and MH shriek with laughter as Rosie falls in the waves. I want to tell the kids to watch out for the "under toad!"  I want a snow cone on the boardwalk that stains our lips bright blue and can only be removed by funnel cake, powdered sugar, and iced tea.

I want to be able to open the door to that apartment and have all my years come flooding back to me. Senior week, my summers as a bread girl, working at the tennis center, riding my bike to the movies, holding on for dear life behind a beach cleaning machine...

I want to be chez moi. Be amongst things that comfort me, make me forget, make me remember. I want to surround my people, my man & our kids, in my world and finally, finally, finally...let go.


For now, I'll sit in my garden, amongst the wildflowers and buttercups, in that incredible light & it's breezes coming from that other ocean to the south, and try not to cry.

What a beautiful hell to be living in.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Time Flies When You're Twirling

It doesn't seem possible to me that Rosie is two. This little unexpected bundle of chaos that makes me laugh, smile, and want to tear my hair out all at the same time. This little blond bombshell who can destroy a packet of cereal in about 5 seconds and melt your heart in 2. This little extra bit of us that we didn't plan, we didn't "need," but my God, how we would be incomplete without her.

She climbs everything. She opens everything. She picks on the other kids at the creche. She steals PlayMobil. She still hasn't figured out that there are two Stinkies, but she knows there is only one Da-Da. It's him she wants when she falls down and it's only him that can rub her leg in the car to calm her down. 

She uses toothpaste as body lotion on her dolls, is fascinated by the way dog fur sticks to fleece, and dances to any music you play. She struts around, full of confidence, in such a way that I can't help but think of my mother-in-law. Rosie's blue eyes twinkle just like hers and hope this means that she will be as forceful in spirit and as generous in kindness as Annie is. 

She's wonderful. She's hard work. She's beautiful. She's a terror. She is more than anything I could have ever imagined. She is one of the four best things The Man & I have ever done.

Our baby is two. Happy Birthday, Rosie. You have no idea how much you are loved.