Tuesday, September 2, 2014

These Days

And then there are extraordinary ordinary days. Like when your brother and his awesome wife and their two fantastic boys come to where you live, and you find yourself very soon at the park and the kids are running around and maybe you've actually been here a while now. And it's on this day that I realize that the kids completely know their way around our neighborhood on their scooters, that they're the ones getting the baguettes for lunch and dinner (oh yes), that Iris has memorized the bus stops from La Défense to our house, that we love our house very much, and that somehow this has become home base.

Little kids have a way of simultaneously slowing things down and speeding them up. It is one of their many powers. Little Henry and tiny, mighty Emmett guided us through a dreamy afternoon of play, play, play. I'd forgotten that: the play all day. I now have kids who (need to?) retreat into their own worlds for a bit - books, intimate conversation, drawings, videos, books. It's quite something, then, to see my kids enthralled by their cousins, to enter that play, and go with it. To walk with it. I know that Oliver is 12 (France reminds me every day), and I see that in this picture and I can't see it. It's Oliver at any age, it's Oliver fixed in time but always Oliver. He's always been the kid to take the little kid's hand. Just now everybody's bigger.

And so three different days. Everyone but me and Eleanor and my mom are off to Nice where my sister-in-law has a conference (nice!). I'll shift work to start on a book review that's due in three months (fresh!) and we'll see what Paris has to offer three generations all at once (thus far, Musée de la Vie Romantique calls - we'll see if we can get Eleanor to join my new George Sand obsession: I've been reading Indiana (because why wouldn't I? Sand's first novel as Sand, the heroine is the daughter of colonial settlers, highly recommended by esteemed colleagues, and the heroine's name is Indiana!), and we're eager to see a movie - good thing the new Pariscope comes out tomorrow!). We have our habits, it turns out - there for us to realize when something wonderful happens.

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