adoption, reuNion, reform, reality**
I was in Paris this spring. I haven’t been for a very long time. My husband and I went for a week and our daughter flew over to spend the weekend.
As it turns out the Sunday of that weekend was Mother’s Day in France so we got to celebrate a second Mother’s Day together. We wanted to go out to the airport to meet her but she was determined to arrive and get herself into the city on her own. After all, as she kept reminding us, she is twenty-three years old.”
So the night before my husband and I went scouting for a location where we could meet. I refused to to sit in our apartment just waiting for her to arrive. I knew that would drive me nuts. The regional railway that came in from the airport had a stop at Notre Dame so we agreed that we would meet her at the statue of Charlemagne that stands just to the right of the cathedral.
I have this feeling about that square in front of Notre Dame. My son’s aparents, you see, brought him frequently to France when he was young. He spent, so he tells me, almost every summer there.
His first summer with his adoptive family would have been the summer that I was in France so many years ago. For reasons that I have explained in my post Sorry For Any Inconvenience, my son spent the first ten months or so of his life in foster care.
Maybe we were together in the square then and I didn’t even know it. Things like that happen in adoption. These weird coincidences that I don’t think are really coincidences at all.
My husband and I went to Notre Dame square early and sat watching the statue of Charlemagne from a bench across across the way. Every now and then we would get up and walk around. There were a lot of policemen there. I think something was going on that day, besides my daughter arrival. We were there so long I think they began to keep an eye on us.
My husband started to volunteer to take pictures for people just to help pass the time. Our daughter was supposed to arrive at 9:00. She arrived 5 minutes before my official panic time of eleven.
Once she arrived, we toured Notre Dame and then we walked and walked. She loves to take pictures of street art so she was photographing everything she found as we strolled through the city.
And we had a great Mothers’ Day in Paris too. We had lunch at the top of the Centre Pompidou, one of the most spectacular views of the city. We went over to the left bank to explore all the places that were so familiar to me from my first visit. We went to the Jardin du Luxembourg and Shakespeare and Company and walked around the Sorbonne.
We walked back to our apartment near the Place des Vosges and both of us bought watches along the way.
I was wondering how I would feel going back to Paris. I was little worried about being there. In a way it feels like a place that stole my son away because he was taught to look down on his culture of origin. Maybe that’s how the Chinese or the Korean or the Vietnamese mothers feel about North America, the place that has taken so many of their children away.
But I shouldn’t have worried. It was fine. Who can be angry at Paris? It’s too bad that things are such that my son couldn’t have flown over for the weekend too. I would have loved to see the places that meant a lot to him as he was growing up.
I miss Paris a lot. I wish I could walk out the door and be on one of those streets that I love.
** For new readers, I am working through the letters in these words as my writing prompts during NaBloPoMo 2011.