In books: Finding Gilbert, A Promise Fulfilled: Diane Covington-Carter grew up haunted by her father’s stories of his time in France during World War II and the orphan boy, Gilbert, who he tried to adopt and bring home. Fifty years after the war, can she possibly find Gilbert to tell him that her father never forgot him? Order the book.
Today's word: appartenir
: to belong
Listen to the following sentence in French, click here
On donne tout à nos enfants y compris des peurs qui ne leur appartiennent pas. --Lyse Desroches
We give all to our children including fears that do not belong to them.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE...by Kristi Espinasse
Now that our daughter lives an ocean away in Colorado, I've become a stalker. I regularly check her social media accounts, hoping for a video or photo, and, throughout the day I log on to Messenger to see if she's active, or live. I know, it is pathetic and I'm starting to feel like a real creep!
I yearn for a voice clip from my 21-year-old or any scrap she might share, but what I most often get is a one-word reply, in English: Yes! (Yes (she's fine). Yes (she is awake). Yes (she is on her way to work). So I try to word my questions differently: Tell me three highlights of your day, I type into the little box that has replaced our lively in-person conversations.
As always, I edit my note so as not to be overbearing: Tell me just one highlight of your day...
from the French Alps...to the Colorado Rockies...
I don't want to be pushy, manipulating, or agaçante. I'm just living vicariously through my grown child--while trying to edit all the regrets of my past so that she doesn't suffer the same erreurs de jeunesse.
Have you heard from Jackie? my sister in Denver asks. What's the latest with Jax? our father, in Palm Springs wants to know. Lately, readers are asking for updates, too. So here's, hélas, as much as I know:
In November Jackie moved to a popular ski area in the Colorado mountains. My friend Stacey, who lives there and who I've known since we (and my sister and my mom, too!) worked together in a ski shop in Phoenix, welcomed Jackie to stay with her until our newbie expat could find permanent accommodations. Her first appointment (via Craigslist) left Jackie mal à l'aise (it may have been the couple in question--a polite way to say questionable couple--or their attack dog...).
Soon after Jackie found another roommate situation and was thrilled to tell me about the beautiful apartment. The complex even had a jacuzzi! There was just one itty bitty pépin: 5 people would be sharing the space--two to a room. Next she mentioned one of the girls would share with a guy. Which girl? Jackie?
No! Our Colorado transplant assured me, she'd be sharing with a girl--in a room with one bed. (How many of you reading would be comfortable sharing a bed with a stranger--guy or girl?)
Ouf! Within a week our daughter realized that she's a room of one's own kind of person, and quickly found another place (while keeping her ex-roommates as friends. Bien fait!). Now she lives with two girls and each has her own chambre.
That leaves transportation. (Jackie n'a pas une bagnole.) The new pad is farther from the bus stop, meaning that when Jackie finishes her nightshift she must walk another 10 minutes home in the dark (and snow). Hurrah for Uber, which she now uses at night (she walks during the day). It makes a dent in her tips, but is worth everyone's peace of mind!
Apart from her job as a server at the hotel, Jackie is a holiday extra in a ski shop, where she will make even more friends, as I did at her age (Bonjour, Stacey!). That brings us to free time. Just what is she doing with her temps libre?
...I see videos of pool halls, jacuzzis, drinks. As I scrutinize the images--those I've gobbled on social media--I wonder if she's dating and ask as much....
Mom, a little privacy, please, comes the 5-word response.
Harrumph! OK, a little bit of privacy. So can I still give my mini-me a few life tips? (I have some ideas on how to keep up her work wardrobe (buy three pairs of black pants!) and her banking (put those tips right into your account. You don't want cash lying around!).
Mom, most tips aren't in cash these days, they're on the credit card receipt. (Ooh, her responses are getting longer!)
But my latest suggestion did not even merit a reply. Learning she was shopping at Walmart, I texted: buy a mattress cover for your bed!
And that, dear reader, was the abrupt end to my butting in. (When she spills hot chocolate in her bed and it ruins the mattress--she can pay her landlord's $$$ fee! She'll have to learn her own lessons just as I had to learn mine. Isn't that the bottom line? Isn't that the only way to grow and mature? I am not helping my daughter by finding a solution to every single problem...at least those she shares with me...).
Speaking of lessons, this one's for me: this lesson I am learning now of letting my daughter live her life. This brings me to her latest sms, a bittersweet pronouncement:
So sorry I'm not present anymore...it's just that I am living my life.
Oh...Ah...Aw! I sighed reading it. What more could we want for our children, que de vivre leur vie. I trust Jackie knows I am here if she needs me. Have your hot chocolate ready, My Girl, and give me a call.
appartenir = to belong to
agaçant = annoying, irritating
une erreur de jeunesse = youthful indiscretion
hélas = unfortunately
mal à l'aise = ill-at-ease, uncomfortable
le pépin = snag, hitch or glitch
ouf! = phew!
bien fait = well done
la chambre = room
elle n'a pas une bagnole = she doesn't have a car
le temps libre = free time
vivre leur vie = to live their life
Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution makes a difference. A donation by check or via PayPal is vivement appréciée! Merci infiniment! Kristi
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