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February 2009

January 2009

Holding on to those moments

Spending the last few days home with Maximilien while he's (and I have) been sick I've found that I have been thinking about my mother a lot and feeling the void. Moments when Max snuggles close to me while we are reading books. Nestling his head against my arm, eyes closed while sucking his thumb. Telling me that he is tired and that there is no where else he'd rather be. I close the book and lay down next to him. His cheek against mine. I hear him "hmmm" and sigh.  Pure love. I think this has to be what my mother felt holding me as a baby. I've never felt so much love in my life. I close my eyes and hold him close and tell myself to remember.

You have these moments in life when you tell yourself to remember. Graduation from junior high. I was taking a photo with my parents wearing a pretty silly looking hat and a dress that my mother made. I remember clicking my press on nails and pushing my glasses up and looking at both my parents and thinking. Remember this moment. Girl Scout camp. I remember the day that I left getting dressed pulling up my green knee high socks with tassels and lacing up my brand new Reebok high tops. My mother and father leading me out to our back porch and them taking a photo of me. Later, the drive to the camp leader's house with my father in his gray pick up truck and saying goodbye to my dad who was smiling at me wearing his tortoiseshell glasses. I remember telling myself remember this moment. Saying goodbye at the airport.  It was after our church wedding ceremony. Julien and I had spent the last three weeks in Kansas getting married, spending the Christmas holidays with my family and just having fun. My mother was wearing her Christmas sweater and my father his fleece jacket. My hair was long and in a pony tail. My mother had her camera in hand and snapped a photo of us passing through security. I remember saying goodbye to my parents, hugging them with all my might and feeling the tight pang of sorrow as I had to leave them to return to France. Little did I know this was the last time I saw my mother alive.

So many of these moments come back to me at random times. Not sure what triggers them but when they come I try to think hard and remember them. Just today, laying with Max listening to him sleep I remember the last phone call I had with Omma while she was in the hospital the night before she passed away. I remember clearly her voice and how happy she sounded. Her laugh.  We talked about Thanksgiving and what she was going to make for dinner. We talked about the doctors and how nice everyone had been to her and how she felt strong and better than earlier in the week.  Then we talked about my visit and how it had been nearly two years since we'd seen each other. And how much we missed each other. The tightness returning to my chest as I said those words to her.  We just chit chatted about other things and at the end she told me she was ready to be a grandmother. My mother, the frank one.  And I told her that I had gotten the message with a smile on my face, of course. We said our goodbyes and I told her that I loved her and that I'd call her tomorrow. 

As mothers, I don't know how we are supposed to prepare our children for a life without us. I guess we just love them as much as we can and hope for the best? I never got to have certain conversations with my mother. I ask myself what conversations did I miss out on? Motherhood for one.  And many others I'm sure...  I just feel like we should of had more conversations like we did on the phone that last night of her life. Maybe it's just like this when you lose a loved one. Seems so unfair to me still....

All I know is, I hope that my blog will someday be a window into my person for my children and loved ones after I am gone. That if they have unanswered questions or memories lost they will perhaps be able to find the answers here.


Somewhere along the way he learned to say Thank You...

Actually Merci. Just this week I've been hearing Max say, "Merci" when I give him things. I wasn't quite sure what he was saying as toddlerese can be hard to decipher at times. But yesterday, I gave him something and I said to him "thank you" and he responded with "Merci".

Though it sounds more like Ah-chi. And sometime he says it in English and it comes out as "Ah-choo". Very cute all the same. Sure does make this sick day much better hearing him say it to me all the time. Like after I wipe his nose for the millionth time.


When it snows...

When it snows...



Pancakes is what I crave.

Woke up this morning to a feverish toddler who needed early morning cuddles from his Mama. A dose of Doliprane and a morning nap later we are up staying home from the Créche and the tea house while having a stack of hot pancakes while the snow dusts over Paris this morning. 


2009: A year of hope, happiness and gratitude.

I am sitting in my semi dark bedroom. It's almost noon, the daylight peeking in through the slits in the curtains and the light from my laptop slowly peeling away the sleep from my eyes.  It's 2009. I can hardly believe it.

If I were to say that I did not see where 2008 went that would not be a hard stretch. 2008 was a huge year for me. In all reality, 2007 and 2008 were two years that were kind of are melded together for me, a huge whirlwind of time absorbed by my life unfolding before my eyes. The birth of Maximilien, becoming a mother, turning 30, giving all that I have to give to my child and then the career change. I became a tea house owner in Paris. I became my own boss. Nine months into it, I can't believe that I have come this far.

I have been asked how I did it all? What made it all happen? My first response is my mother.

Her passing was a wake up call for me. It showed my how precious my life is and that I need to make the most of my time here among the living. I remember my Omma always telling me that I needed to go after my dreams. As a child and young adult, you say, "yes" and nod your head and go back to whatever you were doing. Today, I can still hear her voice telling me to "go for it!" and I respond back to her, I will. And I do.

How do I keep the motivation? I have my loving husband and my dear, dear son to keep me going. On days when I feel less than motivated to get up early, I think about how I want to motivate my son and show him a good example and naturally, I am up and already half way to the shower starting my day off.

Also, my customers are a huge motivation for me. I really enjoy seeing them everyday. I have weekly regulars that come, like my regular Tuesday brunch-er who orders the same smoked tea and feuillété de saumon always sending me a message the morning of to say hello and to ask me to reserve a table for one. We always talk about the new movies coming out or the news of the day. And we always have a nice laugh over what Le Parisien say our horoscope is for the day.

And then there is the doctor who comes in to get her eggs for the week because she doesn't have time to cook for herself. She always orders a végétarien avec citron and a green tea. We don't speak that much but she always gives me les bises everytime she visits and it shows me that we are friends.

Or the young mother who comes in almost every week to treat herself a nice lunch out with her newborn daughter. We exchange our experiences on what it's like to be a new mom and she shares new milestones that her daughter has acheived. I see how proud she is and I feel the same inside because I know... I was there once. And this week, she came in without her daughter and I saw a bit of sadness in her eyes. She told me that her daughter got a place in the créche by her apt and how wonderful it was for her to have her days to herself. But she did not know what to do with herself so she thought she'd come to my tea house for lunch for something familiar. Again, I knew where she was coming from and was happy to be there for her. And like every other time she has come to visit, she sat down at the same table because she knows the stroller is out of the way there even though that day she was there sans poussette.  She always orders a different item from the menu each time but always a cookie et café allongée after each meal.

I've only been open for nine months and I have many more stories like this. I can't tell you how this fills my heart with so much love and gratitude. And for the first time in my life I can say outloud that I ABSOLUTELY love what I am doing with my life.

Today is the first day of 2009. In years past, I always make myself a list of things that I want to accomplish. I started thinking about this last night and stopped myself... instead I am just going to do what comes naturally. Life. Living it in the full and in the now. Whatever else comes along with it, that will be for me to see when it happens Hopefully, happy surprises.

I also want to take a moment to write a little message to the young lady who stopped by the tea house yesterday at closing and who left a lovely pink and red boquet of flowers for me with my husband. I am so utterly touched. Thank you for this lovely gesture. I wish I could have been there to recieve them myself. I hope that our paths will cross again someday soon.

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year for 2009 from my family to yours. May be a year full of hope, love and happiness.