French Mailboxes (c) Kristin Espinasse
Read about this photo in Photo du Jour, below.

naître (neh-tre) verb
  1.  to be born

être né pour quelque chose = to be cut out for something
être né pour l'autre = to be made for one another
être né sous une bonne étoile = to be born under a lucky star
être né coiffé = to be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth
son pareil est à naître = "his/its equivalent has yet to be born"
(when something or someone is unrivalled, matchless)

Citation du Jour:
Il n'y a personne qui soit née sous une mauvaise étoile, il n'y a que des gens qui ne savent pas lire le ciel.

No one is born under a bad star, there are only those who do not know how to read the sky.
--Dalai Lama

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Ten years ago today I woke up in the cave* of a one-room fisherman's cottage overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

I pulled on the stretchy polyester ensemble that Tante* Marinette in Châteauneuf-du-Pape had given me, put on my canvas sneakers and carefully tied the laces. I told Jean-Marc that we had better go. "Now."  I crawled up the stairs--for the stairwell from the cave to the room above was like that of a boat, narrow and steep.

Upstairs, our combination kitchen, living- and dining-room was illuminated by the lights from Notre Dame de la Garde--the historical, hilltop Cathedral just across the vallon.* The church lights cast a warm glow across the tiny room where my mom lay, in full make-up, asleep on the sofa. C'était minuit.*

"We are going to the Renaissance," I said.
"We Marcuses are never early," she reminded me. You girls were each a week late. Go back to bed, honey, and get some rest."

After some hesitation, I said, "We're leaving. If you like I'll call you when the baby is born."
With that, my mom threw on her boots and her straw fedora and made it to the car in time to open the door for me.

"Look at the sky," she said. "All of the stars are out tonight! Let's go."

A few hours later, at the Clinique de la Renaissance, my mom broke into the salle d'accouchement.* "I can't believe they wouldn't let me in here to see my own grandson!" she complained.
(The French doctor had told me earlier that I could have one family member in the delivery room. When Mom stormed the salle,* he made an exception. Mom had been standing in the clinic's parking lot for over an hour, eyes fixed on the third floor window--the only room with lights shining from it. "I knew you were in there!" she said.)

"Mom! Where did you get that?"
She held up a single red rose, stared at it in admiration. Her eyes lit up.
"I swiped it from someone's yard."
"Did anybody see you?"
"Oh, it's raining out now. Besides, no one is up at 4 a.m."

To the newborn she said, "Hello, Max! It's your grah-mair* here! We are going to have A LOT of fun, you and me."

Max, less than an hour old, turned his head ever so delicately toward the fragrant, earthy gift, acknowledging the flower's scent. My eyes glazed over. I was so proud of him.

References: la cave (f) = basement (ours was a converted basement); une tante (f) = aunt; le vallon (m) = small valley; c'était minuit = it was midnight; la salle d'accouchement (f) = delivery room; la salle (f) = room; grah-mair (pronunciation for "grand-mère") = grandmother

Photo du Jour:
The theme in today's story and photo is "delivery".  I took the "mailboxes" photo at the entrance to Les Arcenaulx (a historical, renovated arsenal in Marseilles) where you'll find a popular bookstore and restaurant (near the Vieux Port at 25 cours d'Estienne d'orves).

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety