The day after

I am struggling to get through every activity today. I am finding it so challenging to answer work emails, and go about my business like today is any other day.

I live about 30 km from Nice, far enough away that my family and I were nowhere close to being in danger, so far in fact, that we were asleep in our beds while our neighbours were having their lives thrown upside down. But we are close enough to feel the pain of those around us, to see their fear, and to know that their lives will truly never be the same.

When I left the comfort of my bed this morning, I was confronted with the news. I turned on my iPad, and instead of finding information, knowledge, understanding, I found messages of anger and of hate, promises of more war and more violence. I was overwhelmed, I nearly drown in a sea of ignorance and terror.

Then I realised something else, I had emails, Facebook messages, and text messages from people far and wide, those I spoke to yesterday and those I haven’t seen in years, all trying to make sure we were okay. People whose lives we have touched, who in this time of crisis thought of us. Again, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea that so many people would think of us, would care to know that our family was okay.

After I had answered all the emails, a new wave hit me, I was okay, but were the people I care about? I quickly scanned Facebook for all those that live in Nice, searched to see if they were marked “Safe” and then I started sending my own text messages of concern.

It’s 15h00 the day after; I am still feeling…feeling too much to really process everything, but my brain is slowly trying to take over. I am reacting less and less to my emotions and more and more to the facts. I am reminding myself that France is still one of the greatest and safest countries to live in; I have my family and friends who are today safe from harm. I have my health, a home, food on the table, clothes in my closest, running water, electricity, plumbing, the right to be at work, and be independent. I have love, a sense of humour and reason.

Today is a tragic day, but I won’t be crippled with fear and anger, and I refuse to feel hopeless and lost, because I will remember that one man created so much ruin, but tens of thousands of people have since shown nothing but love and kindness. The world is a good place, filled with happiness, and many many wonderful people and beautiful things. We must not lose sight of that.




No longer living with a three year old

For the next 13 months, 2 weeks and 3 days I will no longer be living with a three year old. My baby boy is now 4 years old.

4 days old vs 4 years old

4 days old

Dear Crazy,

Today is your 4th birthday and you have already grown so much since I first met you. I hope your father and I will be able to teach you and help you to learn so many things. There are a few things that are so fundamental and important to me that I hope if I fail at anything it is not on these points.

You are crazy

Never ever lose your spirit and your drive for adventure. You are a handful, but your curiosity, energizer-bunny like demeanor and fearlessness will take you far. (but not too far away from me okay?)

You are strong

I have seen you fall, I have seen you face disappointment and you have done this with pride and dignity and with more self control than what should be expected from someone with so few years. You will face many more challenges, some we have all known and some that are particular to you, but never forget your inner strength and you will get through them all. I will be there as much a you want me to be, at times you will say too much. I can’t help that, you will always be my baby boy. Just remember that when I overstep any boundaries it is out of love. Let me know when this happens and I promise I will try to back off.

You are beautiful

You are unique, you are original and you are beautiful just as you are.

You are not perfect

I know this may seem surprising to hear coming from your mom, but it is true. I will build you up as much as I can and help you to have all the self confidence you need, but I hope to keep you down to Earth as well. You will make mistakes and that is okay, own up to them, accept them, and learn from them. Be ready to compromise, admit your faults, and grow.

You are loved.



Stuff my dad writes

So I got this email from my dad today:

“I’ve recently discovered that since adopting my time saving, quick button pressing procedure on the microwave I have been gaining weight. So in an effort to remain healthy I have reverted to the multiple hand moving method. I tell you this as a caution that if you do/did follow my lead, you do so at your own peril. You may save time now but your life could be considerably shortened.”

Emails like this are why I love my dad. First, this email came with the subject line “Christmas exchange” because my dad has never actually sent/started/written an email, he has only ever replied to them. Sometimes I wonder if he knows where the “new” button is on his email application or if he would ever write me again if I were to change my email account and text him the new address.

Second, I may be his daughter but after 34 years of existence, I am never quite sure he is kidding, which makes me laugh more.

Third, this email refers to item number 13 of this post. My father has been proclaiming for years (yes, years) that he is saving so much time by microwaving things for 33 seconds instead of 30, because he moves his fingers less–this time saving action was also originally communicated to me in a similar type of email.

Fourth, I know that one of his other time saving techniques is to copy and paste the same email to all his kids rather than write each of us individualized emails, so I know brother and sister bear have got it too and we can collectively laugh about it the next time we are together.

Finally, I think my dad has a long distance instinct, he knows when these are the exact kind of emails I need.

So if you read this dad (which would only happen if he finds an old email where I have provided him the link because I am not sure he is an avid user of bookmarks either) please don’t ever change.



I can’t seem to finish a thought

I am going through one of those moments in my life when there are so many things on the go, to plan, to manage, to remember that I am unable to finish a single thought.

This week for example, I have to figure out how I am going to attend and remember to attend the first parent-teacher night at our school. This is something I refuse to miss because it is one of the few moments in the year when we get a sneak peak into our child’s everyday life. As Crazy is about as chatty as a caterpillar I have no input on what happens in his day.  I even joined the PTA last year just to have some privileged time with his teacher to find out what is really going on in his life.

Also, on Tuesday,  I have to give a speech, as it is not political, perhaps that is not the right way to say it, I guess it is more appropriate to say “I have been asked to speak.”  Now that El Jefe has moved to Boston, I am managing his speaking engagements.  I am not so much nervous for this as I am totally and completely excited.  I mean seriously, I love to be the centre of attention–I think this is a personality flaw due to the fact that I am a middle and therefore forgotten child–and how much more centre can I get than speaking to a room full of 150 colleagues.  Not only that but my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss will be there, so the next time promotion is being discussed, perhaps he might say “Hey, do you remember that girl that said that thing that one time, it was kind of funny, we should promote her.”

On top of that, I have a little over a month before we leave for a two week vacation to Canada, and nothing says vacation like a nine hour flight with two preschool age children. Regardless, there are only two weeks and a lot of very wonderful people to see, and that requires intense planning, something I have only just begun to start to think about.

And since tomorrow is Monday, I have started to think about the insurmountable to-do list at work that is filled with only “urgent” or “requires immediate attention” or “do it now or you will get fired” items.

I am also contemplating how exactly I will get my kids to school and day care tomorrow if it is raining. This is the south of France, have you ever heard anything as insane as rain here? I couldn’t believe it when I woke up to the sound of rain falling this morning. It was such a wonderful change or at least it was until I decided to take the kids out to play in the rain; I have yet to figure out where my head was at when I came up with this idea. I got them all dressed up in rain gear and rubber boots and went out to splash around in puddles. We came back about 30 minutes later soaked to the bone, cold, and miserable.  It took me nearly as long to get everyone dry and warmed up again. I can’t imagine how I will manage it tomorrow morning unless I bring everyone, including myself, an extra change of clothes.

So these are the thoughts I am able to focus on for more than 20 seconds.  The rest of the time my mind is jumping from one thing to the next, never able to fully digest the thought, the feeling, the moment before it skips on to the

Why should I feel lucky that my husband knows how to work the vacuum?

Crazy Vacuuming

I am often told that I should feel lucky because I have the worlds most amazing husband. I do love my husband, and I am quite happy with my choice to marry him, but I am getting a little tired of people telling me to feel lucky.

What bothers me about this comment is why it is said, not the fact that people are insanely jealous of my super duper man.  I am told to feel lucky because my husband does housework, he does laundry, he changes diapers and he baby sits my children so that I can go out from time to time sans kids.  He has so many great qualities that I do feel grateful for, but I refuse to feel lucky that he treats me and this family with the respect we deserve.

Hubby and I both have promising careers, we both earn roughly the same income (this is a whole other subject that I will not get into now) and we both have other pursuits we would like to follow. We discussed and agreed as adults to have children so why wouldn’t we continue to be equals in our marriage and in our home.

We have split our household responsibilities based on discussions (sometimes heated I’ll grant you, but discussions all the same) and compromise rather than on the stereotypes that were formed in an era when women may not have had as many choices as they do today. I realize that not everyone will strike the same balance as we have, nor do I advocate that they should.

But, I don’t consider having a husband who is my equal and who sees me as his equal as lucky, at least not directly. I feel lucky to live in a society where I am allowed the freedom to make choices. I feel lucky to have been raised by wonderful parents who gave me the confidence and maturity needed to look for and find the right man for me. I feel lucky that I made some kind of crazy choices that landed me in Paris and two offices away from my husband.

So yes, my husband is awesome for me (you ladies don’t need to be interested, I’m the only one in the world who can handle his quirks), but not because he knows how to work the vacuum.