"Regretfully" in French + to spin out of control + One of us moves out...
"Eclosion": Old love letters, a lifetime commitment, and "rien n'est acquis"...

A Strange Coincidence, “soul-daughter”, and wonderment in French

Jean-Marc and Jackie making cocktails
Pictured: Jean-Marc, who does the sound files for this journal, and our daughter, Jackie, whom today's story is about ♥ (here, she is making "The Lady B" one of the drinks she mixed for Baccarat).

Today's Word: émerveillement 

  : wonderment, amazement

Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear all the French words in the following story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Sound file here

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Soul daughter

Last night I lay in bed wondering where my daughter was. I knew Jackie had a few rendezvous in Marseilles...By now she had surely finished lunch at the Callelongue calanque with cousins Clara and Mahé. She must have gone ahead with plans to meet up with Alice for a drink at l’Escale... Perhaps Jackie had posted an image from the popular seafront café?
Opening Instagram, ça y est, there was a video update from my 24-year-old.  I noticed bistro chairs in the foreground and a vibrant orange coucher du soleil on the horizon. My eyes locked on the young woman walking toward the blazing orb. Was it Jackie? I played the clip over and over, to where the girl takes off in a spirited gallop toward the setting sun. There was something about the image that stirred me....

Just then I heard the front door and the sound of steps in the stairwell. A gentle rapping on the bedroom door and Jackie appeared. A soft floral-fresh scent now filled the space between mother and daughter. I noticed her shiny hair, her new blazer, thick gold loops the French call créoles... 

“Come sit down!” I motioned to the edge of the bed. I couldn’t wait to hear all about my daughter's day. Did everything go smoothly? How was the drive all the way out to La Baie des Singes? Was it easy to find a place to park? Did the restaurant ask for un passe sanitaire?

With her fading French accent, Jackie assured me tout s'est bien passé. But how was I? she wanted to know. How was Grandma? What did we do all day? Oh, and did I see her video?

“Yes! I loved it! What a wonderful capture of the girl walking into the sunset...”

"I thought of you when I saw it. I knew I had to film it for you..."

Mon Âme-Fille
How touching that she would stop to think of her mom. Such love stirred me. Suddenly, I recalled being at that same place...and thinking of her—or the her that was to be or should have been. It was uncanny... déjà vu... the sunset, those bistro chairs, the girl running towards the horizon (Jackie or me? The image was superimposing, transporting me back to the summer of ‘93 when my daughter was but a twinkle in my eye)....

Twenty-eight years ago I sat alone at that very café, watching the sun go down on my life in France. I watched as a young mother parked her stroller at a table across from mine. She reached for her baby, hugging and kissing the child before settling into her bistro chair. I remember my heart sinking, tears welling up, and the thought of what might have been.... 

I recounted to Jackie the story of her parents' rupture years before she was born. "Little did I know then that you would be sitting here with me today. Isn’t it amazing?" Reaching for my daughter’s hand, I was replaying in my mind the image of the girl running toward the blazing horizon when Jackie looked at me, somberly.

"It is hard to think that we will only be here together for 50 years..."

"What do you mean? Here at the same time on earth?"


"Well, that’s true, one day we'll be dust. But you know I believe in...."

"Heaven," my daughter continued.

"Yes! And I know you have your own beliefs. But one thing we both have to believe is that our souls are entwined éternellement." As my daughter listened, I thought I saw a twinkle in her eye. It brought me back to that glittering sea, the girl, the mother-child, the sunset, and Life's mystery.

“Nobody knows what comes next,” I admitted. “Not even the most brilliant scientist. All that is certain is dust and this soulful connection we have.” It is why, in the midst of a crowd, we think of our bien-aimée and sometimes even finish their sentences when we are together. Who can explain it? 

émerveillement = wonderment, amazement 
la calanque = rocky inlet 
ça y est = there it was
le coucher du soleil = sunset 
les créoles = hoop earrings
La Baie des Singes = Monkey Bay
le passe sanitaire  = health pass, vaccination passport
tout s'est bien passé = everything went well
l’âme-fille = soul daughter
la rupture = break-up
éternellement = eternally, infinitely, without end
le/la bien-aimé(e) = beloved

Don’t miss the story “FRISSON” (“Chills”) - about a scary-cozy pastime both Jackie and I enjoyed when she was a teen. Click here.

Sunset coucher du soleil france
Girl running into the sun. A still from Jackie’s video.

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


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Deb Locke

This was an exquisite story, Kristi. I felt so moved. Thank you for sharing. (And we are so pleased to be back in Sablet after 22 months.)

Julie Farrar

*sob sob sob* Such beautiful sentiments.


Very moving. Don’t let the number 50 define you in relationships. I had over 70 with my Mum and am thankful for them. Carpe diem with your children around you. It passes all too quickly.


A very touching story, but must admit I was hoping for the recipe for'The Lady B'!!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
Lovely post today! I also believe in Heaven and that we will be reunited with our loved ones. I almost didn't recognize Jackie with the dark hair in the photo!


What a beautiful story, it brought tears to my eyes.

Suzanne Dunaway

Bay des Anges? Singes? Angels? Monkeys? Wow, am I missing something? Lovely story and daughter and you are lucky to have such a sweet relationship with her!
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Karen in NY

Thanks for sharing this touching story. Reminds me of my own long distance loved ones. I trust both of you are recovering from your awful experience described a few weeks ago. I thought of you all yesterday... a TV special on Edith Piaf. In French. The subtitles helped, of course, but if I closed my eyes and listened to the flow of the language, I could "get the gist". Mostly. Beautiful sounds, both language and music.

Karen Whitcome

Ahh - the circle of life.
She's as beautiful as you both
showed her how to be.
Thanks for sharing this.

Karen Cafarella

What a beautiful, touching story.
Big Hugs!


Daughters are a blessing, n'est-ce pas? ♥

Young Paciello

Ah Kristie, I know the heartbreak of being a believer and our children have their own belief system. All we can do is pray for them and especially that Jesus will know them when they get to the end of their life as in the Bible, it says “I know you not” so our children must acknowledge Jesus or He won’t recognize them! Even if it’s 1 minute before their last breath, He will joyfully receive them.

jann forth

so precious...enormous thanks...sending love...xoj

Carolyn R Chase

Kristi, Autumn is always an emotional time for me, all the more so since 2012. I was very moved by your post this time. My Preaching is always "hug those you love and let them know how you feel, be present to the moment". Your post expresses it so well.
Thanks for the words.


Once again your writing touches the heart. Lovely

Kathleen Bidney

I can see that JM is learning a thing or two from Jackie, and I love all of the fruits and vegetables on your counter. There is such a warm feel to your kitchen. What a lovely post and the relationship ship that you have with Jackie is exceptional.

Ellen A.

Exquisite. So moving. Such a beautiful connection you and your daughter have. To be envied!

Rick Spring

What an intriguing, well written story. Thank you for sharing it.

K. J. Laramie

So well-written! Truly touching.
Thank you for sharing these tender moments.
You make people think as you offer them.


Love your stories and photos, Kristi!

Grammar detail for your first sentence.. This always helped me:
Lie lay lain (to recline)
Lay laid laid (to place something)
Lie lied lied (to tell an untruth)

Sorry for being such a stickler! I do it only because you asked for corrections.. You are welcome to email me if this is unclear.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Jean. Should it then be: last night I lay in bed?
Somewhere along the line I learned not to say lay, lest one mean *lay an egg*!

Maria B. Cochrane

Now I lay me down to sleep....


So very moving.... Thank you for this lovely, very special post. Am late to the party this week.

Cheers to you and your beautiful family, all of them.


A conversation to treasure …..


As I lay in my bed last night, I wondered where I laid the remote.
As I laid myself down last night, I wondered where I had laid the remote.
I have lain in my bed many times; you'd think I could be concerned with something more important than the %#$% remote.
Jean is 100% correct: lie (as in lie on a bed) is an intransitive verb. NO direct object.
I lie now, I lay yesterday, I have lain (on my bed)
lay (as in lay the remote on the nightstand) is transitive. Yes direct
Now I lay me down to sleep (myself is the direct object) I laid the remote on the nightstand after turning off the blasted TV. (remote is the direct object)

Betty A Gleason

Lovely as usual when you write from the heart. And how is Jules doing?


Yes, Joan (below) explained it more completely…Just memorizing “Lie, lay, lain” and “Lay, lay, laid” makes it easy (for me) to apply. The past tense is “lay” in both cases.


Hi Jean: You got it right the first time when you said: lie, lay, lain and lay, laid, laid. The past tense for lie is lay; the past tense for lay is laid. Last night I lay in my bed for 10 hours. Last night I laid out my clothes for the morning.

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