A Love Letter to Children – Vive les Enfants!

July 27, 2017 • Posted by PartywithMoms in Anne's Parenting Column • Tags: , , , , , , , , 14 comments  

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I just returned from an absolutely perfect trip to Paris with my sister. We had so much fun together and with the French. My Franglais served as a source of entertainment for the French and a chance for me to again and again see that fun is the most universal language.

As we walked on these ancient and beautiful narrow streets together we looked into very busy patisseries, tiny fruit and vegetable markets and many beyond bustling cafes. The smell of coffee, bread, butter and wine let us know we were on the most wonderful trip.

My sister has lived in Paris six months of the year for decades, and had a Parisian life to live while we visited. When she had an appointment, I, the almost non-speaking totally American soul had a little Parisian life sometimes too. I loved the cafes and I marveled at how many older women, solo or with one other friend, had wine, champagne or Pastis at any hour. I could feel their love of these little times. They would smile at me as I sipped my red wine, somehow allowing me to be a part of their times as well as my own. The French just love spur of the moment times and just create them all of the time.

As I walked along the tiny streets, I suddenly was stunned by the absence of children. I could never find one. Couples of all ages and older women were everywhere but never with children. My sister said that probably they were on vacation.

One day in a beautiful small Moroccan restaurant, I heard a young child coughing. It was the first sound uttered by someone young I’d heard in days. I turned around to see if the child was all right. I was happy to at last see a little person, and even better, he wasn’t choking but had a cough.

As we walked to the Eiffel Tower, there were a few more children. Yay! I felt so happy to see them, but that was it for days. More than anything I was lonesome for children. Their size is so adorable, as is the way they think and all that they notice. Their love of the ridiculous and ability to find it and create hilarity calls to me.

As a nursery school teacher, my daily life for the last forty years has been graced by children’s inimitable life-giving openness. In the most beautiful city in the world, and on the most fun trip, I still wanted these quotidian exchanges, I felt my fathoms’ deep gratitude to children. I adore them and feel they are almost my oxygen. I didn’t want to hurry our vacation at all, but I couldn’t wait to see a four-year-old again.

At the airport, our farewell hugs just about did us in. As I put my passport, boarding pass and carry-on bag in the gray plastic bin, tears streamed down my cheeks. But then… walking up the stairs to my gate, I heard someone say, “It’s a long flight so a pee-pee run is a good idea.” I looked down. There was a four-year-old boy! My sad heart skipped a dozen beats. The boy’s father and I smiled at one another just as the little boy noticed the bee on my bag. “I like your bag. I like bees. They make us honey. ” I just beamed at this little dark haired person as I thanked him. I felt like picking him up and hugging him. As I watched them walk to the bathroom, I knew I had it all – a trip I would never ever forget – a deeper love for my sister – and the realization that my love of very young children gives my life the meaning, fun and richness that I worship. I thank you, dear children.

Written by – Anne Martine Cook. Anne has 40+ years experience teaching nursery school children.

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Comments ( 14 )

  1. Randi

    Fabulous article about your Paris excursion ! I really felt the French magic through your writing!!

  2. Love this post, Anne Martine! You will guard Paris in your heart forever after this trip.

    Believe me, ma chere, time in Paris stays with us forever. We are meant to bring those small moments back with us, to make our lives wherever we make them richer, deeper, and more well-lived. Brava, chere Anne! You have become a parisienne in your heart.

    Rozsa Gaston, Anne Martine fan and author of Paris Adieu

  3. Sue Sabini

    Loved this column, Anne! You and I share that very special love and appreciation of young children. I hope to see Paris some day and experience some of those wonderful smells!

  4. Mary Alice Schulte

    Dear Anne, I so loved reading about your time in Paris with your precious sister. I love that you brought the smells and sounds and sights of Paris home to us!! And that amazing gift of living and enjoying each amazing moment….And of course your love for children shines through as always❤️. You will have to return when the children are not on vacation!! I know your sister will adore more sister time with you!! Xoxo

  5. susan gullotta

    I love this beautiful article.

  6. Aviva

    Anne this was so gorgeous and evocative. It literally brought tears to my eyes, so moving! Your love for life and the lives of our littles comes across in every buzzy way. Wonderful to see you walking the streets of gay Paris, thank you so much for sharing!!! Xoxoxo Aviva

  7. Marianne Riess

    This column says it all about you. You have always been a “child whisperer,” and they whisper right back to you. Children who are part of your life are lucky indeed. The life connection between you and small children is enriching for all involved. No one loves their job more than you do, and no one benefits more from being with you than children. A lovely infinite circle.

  8. Erin Dodds

    This is a beautiful column! Happy tears are flowing because this perfectly captures who you are. We are all so lucky to know you. And our dear Buzzy had an airport cameo! ?❤️

  9. Carolyn

    Beautiful post Anne… thank you for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes thinking of you on this very special and magical trip you had in Paris. xoxoxo I love you

  10. Anne, just like you, your voice is always distinct and original — the true expression of love and wonder. Every child (and parent, too) is a lucky little bee to have an interaction with you. Thanks for this missive — a perfect reminder that life does rush by and children often get swept up in the bustle of our busy lives, especially during travel. Thanks always for your encouragement to make sure I stop and consider the world through my children’s eyes . . . and what a delight to see my favorite city through your one-of-a-kind child-centered and loving POV!! Vive PWM! XOXO

  11. Michelle Moskowitz

    Anne, so enjoyed reading your article top to bottom! As your neighbor and friend, I can proudly say what a treasure you are as a human being, an inspiring teacher in every way and a great columnist!

  12. Stefani

    Exquisite! You are, and your writing!! Your trip sounds incredible but we benefit from having you home, close to us! We are all lucky to have you, know you and to learn from you!! So happy you had Buzzy with you on your travels! Wonderful article, thank you for sharing my love!!

  13. Abby Smith

    Dear Anne,
    I loved your article! Thank you so much for sharing those moments! You have warmed my day as you do every time I see you!

  14. Hayley Skurowski

    Wonderful dear Anne! Thank you for everything you give us all! You are a truly amazing soul. Love love love

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