Friday, July 15, 2016

Raw


heart, hands, shadow, butterfly

I'm tired of this. I'm tired of waking up to messages from family and friends asking if I'm alright.  Again.  It's not that I don't appreciate the concern.  I do, and it touches me deeply.  It's the reason I get these messages that bothers me.  I'm tired of the unthinkable happening over and over.  I'm tired of waking up to a world where innocent people are killed.  I'm tired of a world where families go out to watch fireworks and come home with huge aching holes in their hearts.

I watched the fireworks, too, this year.  But not in Nice. Far from it.  In northern France on a night so brisk we wore jackets and I wore a scarf.  On July 13th, not the 14th.  This is perhaps the last year we'll watch fireworks from this location since we are moving.  Where we live now we literally just walk downstairs and have pretty darn good places in our parking lot. 

I'm not a big fireworks person.  Either they are too loud or make me hyperemotional. Big events do that to me.  But this year I vowed to enjoy it, since we are lucky to have this view one more time.  Juliette was antsy because the noise worried her.  Even before it started she was prancing around nervously and I had to tell her to settle down as a few odd cars were driving into the lot.  But she finally settled when the show began and I held her in my lap.  I even put my hands in her hoodie pockets to warm them and held her close. 

I wondered how many more fireworks she would let me hug her tightly like this.  When she got a bit heavy I passed her to Remi so he could enjoy some snuggle time, too.  I noticed he rocked her slightly and put his chin on the top of her head like I had.  The show was great, the music was fun and moving.  We had stars in our eyes, as the expression goes.  It was a lovely moment.

But last night what should have been a lovely moment for thousands turned into a nightmare I can't even imagine.  It turned into the worst night of their lives.  And I can't even bear to watch the news stories of grieving parents and family who lost their little ones or their mom and dad, cousin, neighbor on what was supposed to be a celebration. 

So I am tired, like I know you are, too, of waking up to more bad news.  To a knot in my stomach, to stinging eyes, trying to brace myself for another horrific event.  I am tired of holding back tears at work and having to pray yet again for so many victims.  I am tired of trying to understand why they hate us, or, if it is just a completely deranged individual, why he wanted to take down so many innocents with him.  I am tired of trying to pick up the pieces and keep going.  I am tired of evil winning too many battles.  And I have no answers. I'm just sick of it.

But as my friend Caroline said, somehow, life goes on.  As I watch the breeze whip my curtains around on a sunny day and the light hit my flowers, I will try to remember it's summer.  I will try to live and love and be careful.  And I will keep praying, even if I wonder if it does any good.  And I will hug my little girl as long as I can.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sense of place

My current 'hood
I really should be packing instead of blogging.  I have packed maybe a grand total of ten boxes (and that is probably being generous).  I probably have about 10,000 boxes to pack (give or take a thousand).  Not to mention just sorting through stuff before packing, like throwing away old clothes, shredding and recycling old bills I do not need to keep.  But somehow in my mind the work is compressed and could, potentially, be finished in a day.  Yeah, right. 

But this week I have been in that strange limbo world.  I am still living in my apartment but we have the keys to the new house.  We spent a good part of last weekend there doing some painting in Juliette's room.  And we couldn't bring ourselves to leave the lush garden and go back to the reality of packing. 

It is more than a physical limbo that I am in though.  This week was rather emotional having the last day of Juliette's school.  Somehow I found myself tearing up more than her.  We have both made good friends there, her with the kids, me with the parents.  And, as it always is, you don't know what you've got till it's gone.  Now I'm realizing how quaint and fairly well-run her  current school is.  It's not perfect, but the teachers have been good and kind.  Her new school will be much smaller with doubled classes (two grade levels in one class) and we hope she'll be happy there and that the quality of the education will be good.

Even though the move is just across town, to a suburb about ten minutes away, I find myself already getting nostalgic about the scenery in my current neighborhood.  I take a look at the white stone houses of downtown, the ornate details on doors and cobbled streets and realize these types of walks will be rarer now.  The proximity to the town's squares will no longer be on foot for me but now necessitate a bus or car ride.  I will have a slightly longer commute into work, Remi a shorter one. 

But we will have a garden, and that is a dream come true. And three bedrooms and much more storage to spread out all the junk we have accumulated during ten years (!) of marriage.  And the knowledge that our money is going to something that will one day truly belong to us (and not the bank). 

These are arguments that have very little weight with Juliette, who has been giving us a hard time since the reality of moving sunk in a few months ago.  Not seeing her friends on a nearly-daily basis as now is weighing on her.  One day she even started crying, which got me crying, too.  We try to tell her she will make friends easily, and that we had to do the same at certain times in our childhood. 

I can't really blame her.  When you're a child, your friends are your world.  School is your world.  And as my mom reminded me, she has only known this apartment in her life.  Things will be changing for all of us.  Hopefully in a few months we will all be on the same page about everything and each making friends and acquaintances in our new town.  But keeping up with the old ones, too.  Because moving doesn't have to mean forgetting.