I have always had such an innate connection to France. The “joie de vivre” mentality and the provencale sentiment…it has always spoken to me from the time I was very young. You might call me a Francophile or perhaps I have spent my past lives skipping through lavender fields and eating baguettes smothered with brie…who knows? The fact is that the attacks in Paris yesterday were like a personal assault. As I viewed the graphic images of the Parisiene blood-stained rue, it was more than just an attack on humankind. It was an attack on the place that feels like my home away from home.
My first instinct when I absorbed the news of the evening’s horrific events was to come home and turn on the news. I wanted to sit for hours in front of the headlines to learn every ounce of information I could. I was flipping channels for about a minute when my 8-year-old son spoke up. “Mom, please turn this off. It’s scaring me.” I turned it off right away.
As connected as I have always felt to this charming ville, at that moment I felt worlds away. It occurred to me though – perhaps it was okay to feel disconnect in this instance. I don’t want to think of beautiful Paris as the place terrorists tried to make ugly. I want to remember it as I always have – romantic and sentimental and brimming with style and culture.
Moments like these are the toughest to explain to your children, but I think my son is wise beyond his years. Thank you, dear boy, for making me “turn it off,” and instead of focusing on how awful the world can be, I will show him Paris through my eyes when I was in my 20’s wandering from sight to sight along the Seine the year I spent a summer there. I want him to see Paris for its beauty – not its horror.
My song of the day is one I learned in French class in high school. “Aux Champs Elysees” focuses on the hubbub of activity along the Champs Elysees. This is how I want to think of one of the most amazing cities in the entire world-lovely Paris. Vive la France!