Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More of my Mom's visit... and a great story.

After my Mom's adventures getting here, and the weekend in the Loire Valley, we decided to lay low in Paris for a few days. It's a beautiful time of the year in Paris... no, scratch that... it's as beautiful a time as Paris can have, with just a little rain and temperatures that actual break 72 degrees! And the best part... no one is here. The joke expression amongst the expats (people from other countries) is that "France would be a great place to live, if it weren't for the French..." (Someone famous actually said that first, but I don't remember who...) Well, it's true just for a few weeks in August, when everyone in Paris flees to the south of France. It's a little inconvenient, since a lot of stores and restaurants are closed, and let's just say you better not break a filling or have a baby due, because you'll be on your own for that fun. But, parking is abundant, driving is somewhat peaceful, streets are quiet, life is simpler, and it is really "la vie en rose" in August.

I have to give the French credit for at least trying to make all of us non-holiday-goers feel better. They have the "Paris Plage" (Paris Beach) which is a wonderful stretch of road along the Seine, that they close to traffic and then add sand. They have sporting events, little cafes, playgrounds for kids, and lounge chairs with umbrellas set up right along the river.

Here is a picture of my Mom and I in front of "beach". You can see just the edge of the Seine on our right.











This is one of the children's events, under a bridge to keep out of the sun: a clown making balloon animals (or balloon weapons as you can see in the "holsters" around the boys' waists.)




Next we went over to the Igor Stravinsky fountain outside the Pompidou Center (modern art museum). If you look closely, you can see the the cool water sculptures behind B and Love Bug.









Now, finally... that great story I told you about...
Later that day, we were taking the metro home. My Mom and I were sitting in the fold down seats by the door and Love Bug was on my lap. Across the aisle from us was a Muslim woman, covered head to toe, very modestly. She looked tired and angry, like the world and life had been too hard on her. She was stone-faced and obviously had some experiences in her life to make her brace against the world. That was, until Love Bug saw her and smiled.
First her eyebrows started to move, then her cheeks, and a few seconds later, this woman broke into a smile. Love Bug, the youngest and most inexperienced person in the metro, cracked the code. She figured out the secret to making someones day. You just have to look innocent, have no agenda, and smile at them. Not because it's nice, or because it will make you feel good about yourself, but because you see another person and connect with them.
It made me go home and really think about my life. Seeing Love Bug interact with the world makes me want to be nice, kinder, and smile more. I think I get involved in doing places, doing things, and I forget to take a second to connect with the people around me. I think with families living further apart, and a world of impersonal computers, we all are a little more lonely. We all could use more smiles... especially from a sweet 9 month old baby.

3 comments:

Jacquie said...

What a sweet story about your Love Bug and the woman! Babies can truly work magic, can't they?!

I will never forget the reactions babies got from the elderly (sick etc) when I worked in the nursing home I use to work at.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures of your travels with your Mom.

Cheri said...

It sounds like you had so much fun with your mother! Is she already planning her trip to Rome? Tell her NOT to come in the summer - it's way too hot and humid! Such a change from Paris.

carrie said...

Abbey,

I LOVE this story. I was always struck on the Metro with how many people looked angry and tired, as you said. That is just precious!