March 27, 2018

Romy Flowers

Romy is always up for a walk when it is a bit too chilly and a bit too late to go quite so far. No complaints. Dog-like. We are similar in that way. So we end up on lots of adventures together. My ready partner. This time it was a journey to another land, where the white flower of Provence in winter had almost swallowed a house whole. We followed a honey trail, through a vineyard and a farm field. Blue sky, pastel sky, a bleeding sunset. A slice of the moon above. On our walk back home, Romy pointed out that the moon was following us. "Maybe he wants to come with us. Can we have him for dinner?"

March 26, 2018


MARSEILLE, where the color of the roof tiles and the sea hum a consonant tune. Love this view. The layers of the city and most of all the blue sea.

March 21, 2018

Colette | 6 years old

Colette is 6 years old! She has been wow-ing us with her big personality and deep thoughts from the time she was a tiny one. Even at three days old, her eyes were wide open, staring with a fixed determination to know things. She continues. She is magical.

Colette is a star at school and her teacher only has to caution her in her tendency toward perfectionism. Things must be “just so,” whether she is glueing the edge of a craft or writing in cursive. Sometimes I go up in her room and find her folding her clothes in her closet (re-folding…basically correcting my work).

Recently, before bedtime:

Colette: ”What does count? Helping other people or caring for ourselves?"

I ask her to repeat herself because it is hard to imagine she is having this internal debate. She restates the same question. Okay I explain. We can't take good care of other people if we don't take good care of ourselves first. Both are very important.

Colette: ”But I need a job. I can't work right now!"

I explain her job is school right now. Every job requires an education.

"I want to be everything in the whole world (her whole body tense), but the thing that I want to be most is to help poor people. I need to earn money and have a job to help them!"

Most days she still brings up going down in history. Will the singer in this song go down in history? Will my teacher go down in history? Will Emmanuel Macron go down in history? Thomas Pesquet? And lots of ideas for herself.

"When I grow up guess what I am going to do to go down in history? I am going to take my rocket with lots of extra water and stop at the moon and then a circuit of planets to bring water around. I will create gravity with it and then with the sun and water, will create life on the other planets."

“Is it Juliette Caesar or Julio Caesar? And did he go down in history more than Cleopatra?”

“Did Fabrizio go down in history? I mean with his painting and his brushes and all? And the work he's done in our house.” (Fabrizio is our Italian friend who has painted many rooms in our house).

Other funny Colette thoughts:

First thing in the morning she is lying in bed thinking. I go over and stroke her crinkled forehead. She says, “Mama, I want to learn more about skeletons." (Not remotely near Halloween).

“How many days does a dewdrop last?”

“How did the earth create itself?”

“When I die will I have new parents?”

Super angry at me for something. "I still live with you, but I am not your girl"

"Let's pretend I am a nun. "
Romy: ”What's a nun?"
Colette, ceremoniously wrapping a long scarf around here head “It is someone who prays and lives for Jesus"

Guiding others at school, I hear her correct them: ”oui" not “ouais”

"I definitely believe in everything. All gods. Everything. Except that the earth is flat."

The look of misery when it isn't your birthday.

March 12, 2018


French kids celebrate carnaval. Carnaval was historically the final celebration before the period of lent began in the Christian liturgical calendar. Today, in France, it is an occasion for children to dress up, dance, eat candy and throw bags and bags of confetti in the school courtyard. It is the occasion of the school year.

There was a big lead-up this year with Romy counting down the number of “dodos” (sleeps) until the day of celebration would arrive. The week it came she exclaimed: "yes! It's coming! This week is carnadale!"

Our school chose a theme for the costumes: les pays du monde (countries around the world), which is also the theme of the lessons for the school year.

There wasn’t a single hesitation for Colette: Egyptian. Romy wanted something whimsical in the realm of rainbows (based loosely on some country, I guess).

I arrived early and got to mingle with the kids as they exhaled all of their excitement on each other, along with the confetti.

Spring Harvest

A simple moment out in the yard - a spring harvest, with small baskets. The lawn is littered with little white daisies and lavender blooms. Colette and Romy take full advantage and give the flowers the devotion their wonder deserves. This is why we moved here. I follow them around outside and smile, comparing their current pastoral existence to the sidewalk chalking they used to do in front of our Harlem townhouse (breathing in the fumes of the cars and fire tanks whizzing by).

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