Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hopelessly Behind, but Hopelessly Devoted

Yep, I am hopelessly behind but devoted to you, blog. Life has been so full and busy the past few weeks. Connor turned 2, lots of travel, and most of all my Mom has been with us the past 11 days. But I am determined to catch up! One blog at a time!

But today was an emotional day and I thought I better write it now and out of order. Mom was such a wonderful light during her first visit. Clearly her priority was to get her hands on her granddaughter, but we did pack in the travels too. We went to Giverny, Normandy, Bruges, and all over Provence. I will never forget Mom and Connor in the backseat during our many hours in the car playing with toys, reading books and singing song after song after song. They did so many rounds of "Rise and Shine" and "If You're Happy and You Know It" that I can't walk anywhere now without them sticking in my head.

When our shuttle bus was pulling away today - leaving Mom on the airport curb - and the tearful goodbyes and endless waving and kiss-blowing through the window panes took place, Connor started making a circle over her head with her arms as a farewell. Mom and she had invented new verses to the "Happy And You Know It" song and one was, "If You're Happy and You Know It, Make A Sun!" It was so cute and so sad and sweet all at the same time to recognize Connor's goodbye "sun" gesture to her beloved Lin-Lin. All day Connor has been asking "Where's Lin-Lin? Where'd Lin-Lin go!?" Lin-Lin, thank you for traveling across the ocean to spend so much time with us.

Last night Mom, Connor and I tucked in to an airport hotel beside Charles de Gaulle (Paris) airport since her flights arrived and departed from there. We ordered the way-too-expensive "Kids Meal" from room service and all three ate the child meal of veggies, fries and a burger. This morning we put Mom on her flight home and took a train to Strasbourg. It is heart-wrenching and such a lonely feeling to say goodbye to my mom after such a terrific visit and knowing it will be too many months before we see each other again.

In Strasbourg we had several hours before Kirk met us here. So instead of sitting in the hotel and missing Mom we set off for the Orangerie park here right next to the EU offices. (EU resides here several months out of the year). It was a rockin' park and I intentionally left my camera in the hotel room because I wanted the afternoon to be all about Connor (and sometimes the camera is just too much of a distraction). She has been a travel trooper recently and it seemed time to indulge our baby. We bought a raspberry ice cream as we enterd the park and I let Connor hold it and she promptly rubbed the pink, sticky sorbet all over. And I didn't care.

The afternoon was warm and wonderful and we took our dripping cone and headed straight for the playground. Connor twirled from one thing to the next. She is never very focused when it comes to playground equipment --- as soon as she is on one thing her eye wanders to the next (not so much fun for the little French girl on the other end of the fleeting see saw ride!) I took Connor into the large sandbox and slipped shoes and socks off to enhance the fun. Connor was unusually timid though. She really didn't leave my side and was a little reluctant to join in the sand fun. Maybe all the French children were a little intimidating. But it was perplexing.

We ran in the green grass, spotted the swans on the lake and even found a zoo-like area with a cage full of monkeys climbing and swinging away. There were massive bird nests everywhere and more playgrounds than I could count. I was super impressed with Strasbourg's Orangerie park and highly recommend it - especially for anyone who has the blues about leaving a loved one at the airport! Certainly helped turn the day around.

More to come recalling Lin-Lin adventures, but for now I am wishing my mom a safe return trip. We love you and miss you!

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