July 26, 2016
Getaway drive to Lourmarin
I set off at dinner time last night to go for a drive. The reality of life for me right now, however incredible the setting, is a huge adjustment. I don't mean that we are in a new country or that we have uprooted our lives or that we are still waiting for our furniture and things to arrive from NYC or any of that. I mean, I am spending all my time with my children. Up to this point, I've worked. Every day of the work week, I had expanses of time that were dedicated to tasks that had nothing to do with caring for small people. The huge stretch of a day and a night without a break or distraction or engagement in other work is taxing.
I actually think the most difficult part of parenting for me is responding to extreme emotions. I don't mean that my children have a problem. I mean that children generally express emotions in extreme form. The hard part is that they learn how to express them more calmly by watching me (us). So my reaction really counts. I think about my mom a lot. 8 children. Not a lot of acting out or yelling. I remember now how she would be aware of what was happening without really reacting to it. I don't mean that she didn't care - more that she would observe us and intervene when necessary. It is so much easier said than done. I read a really good article recently by Dr. Laura Markham (I admire her approach to parenting): Mindful Parenting.
One of the things I was most looking forward to moving here was more time with them. And I do appreciate it. I also realize the importance of balance. I am in pursuit of that. I certainly didn't have it in NYC. Am trying for it here in Provence. The structure of school this fall and the time school will allow us to all engage in our own activities is something to which I am really looking forward. We actually visited Romy's 'school' this week - which was enlightening and exciting for everyone. We also passed by Colette's. More on French education and our plan soon.
Luckily, Xavier is a good partner and is sensitive to the need to be alone or away for a while. My drive was blissful. The peak moments of a day in Provence, I think, are between 7-9:30pm. Heaven. The light, the smell of the air, the wind, the trees, the sky. I drove about 20 minutes to Lourmarin, a picturesque little village in the Lubéron - that protected hilly region of Provence bursting with beauty. I had a walk and a chat on the phone with my sister Julie, which is always restorative. The tiny village streets twisting upward, the clambering plants, the village church, the olive groves: all at the close of day was just the kind of lull I needed.