7 Dec
From paris

So I took my boys to Paris for two weeks, and can I just say that if the mister had left me alone in the desert and sent me numerous texts along the lines of, ‘OMG, this is brilliant, this is really brilliant, this is fucking brilliant,’ then he would not have returned to a clean bathroom and a laundry basket cleared of its backlog. But there you go, some of us are born generous and some of us are not.

Because of reasons (not the least of which see above) it was an emotional couple of weeks. We followed our trip to The Louvre (Mona Lisa, check) with a walk through the rain (OMG, it’s raining, this rain is brilliant, you should see this rain) to The Orangerie where hang the waterlilies.

On walking into the first of Monet’s rooms, I cried, and not just eyes-watering with OMG-this-is-beautiful kind of crying. Proper tears streaming down my face crying. I suppose it’s a middle-class, middle-age cliché to stand in Paris crying at the beauty of it all, but rarely have I been so moved as I was when I was standing, sitting, standing, sitting, always crying in front of those paintings.

Eldest boy said, ‘This is because you can’t believe how lucky you are, isn’t it?’ which tells you something of the preceding days, because it wasn’t just the big things that made me cry, so many small things made me think and feel in ways that I think I had forgotten I used to think and feel.

As I, for example, looked away from the young man and his daughter on the metro; as I shared a smile with the woman who brought us our hot chocolates and asked the lads about their diaries; or as I watched the jeunes flirting on the footpath on Friday after school I felt…well, not one thing and not another. I just felt.

It felt good to feel.

At each of these (and at many more hundreds of) moments, I was thinking of the connections that we make with people we have never met and with whom we will share nothing more than a minute or two, and sometimes only a second.

For the longest time, that’s what my blog was about. Something, a seemingly simple something, would happen, and I would be struck by the depth of the simplicity in that something, and a feeling, a physical sensation would build, then a rhythm would start to form, and then words, and then voila. A blog post.

And that, I realised at some point in the last week or so (probably while I was on the metro, we spent a lot of time on the metro), is why I have been so alarmed at the loss of my blogging mojo over the last year or so. It is a sign or a symptom of my shallowness, of a superficiality of feeling. I didn’t blog, because I didn’t feel.

Not feeling is not good.

Or perhaps it is. Perhaps it’s sometimes what your body needs.

I don’t suppose you need to be all that smart to work out what’s at the bottom of this loss/lack of feeling. The grief, the move here…perhaps I will write more about that tomorrow. I did intend to write about it now, but I have to go and play mastermind or backgammon, because I’ve got a little lad who stayed home from school because he couldn’t wake up and now he is especially cuddleicious, so I am going to cuddle with him and play mastermind or backgammon. So for now, I will just say that I have missed feeling, and I have missed a sense of connection to the world around me.

Which I’m now fairly positive all sounds truly middle-class and middle-age cliché. I guess if it walks like a duck (which I sort of do on account of all that vin and fromage – OMG the cheese, you should taste this cheese) and so on and etcetera.

from youngest lad’s journal

From paris

24 Responses to “Luckiness”

  1. kazari December 7, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    awwww… it sounds like you’ve broken open – in a good way : )

    I think perhaps we go through seasons of feeling, seasons of thinking, and seasons of well, experience. In the experience times, you barely hold on while stuff happens, or just exist in the physical all the time.
    Then something shifts, and all of a sudden you can use your heart or your head again in ways you thought you’d lost.

  2. Melody December 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Excellent. It is good to ‘feel’. And don’t worry , I cried when I saw my first ‘proper’ Monet Waterlilies painting. Did you happen to go to the museum which is loaded with Monet paintings?? Not far from ‘Passy’. There were room after room of Waterlily paintings – I remember thinking to myself “I can’t believe it!” (and this was 4 years before my own Monet came along!)

    I too have left my husband in the desert for 2 weeks as I am now in Oz.

    I’m glad you’re back to connecting… And how wonderful for your boys to be experiencing so much! You should be proud of yourself. 🙂

    • ThirdCat December 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

      It’s sort of like The Great Escape round here at the moment!

  3. wen December 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    I dunno – sometimes I reckon middle-class & middle-aged c’est tres bon. And as your little fellow said – lucky, too.

    And loss of feeling – I know just what you mean. Glad it’s back.

  4. Deborah December 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    Middle-aged is good! I found myself a lot more free to be as I am, instead of as I ought to be.

    • ThirdCat December 7, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

      oh, yes, happy to me middle-aged, just hate being a cliche.

  5. Mary December 7, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Yes but I do think that inability to feel is also the mind’s way of coping with grief/shock/pain…

    Just take tentative little steps and soon enough you will be sprinting to make those connections..

    And Paris – bloody hell it is beyond beautiful!

    • ThirdCat December 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

      yes (to all that you just said)

  6. planetnomad December 7, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Paris is awesome. So glad you got to go. And how sweet is your son to recognize you are crying because something is beautiful? Did you go to the Musee d’Orsay? I cried there too.

    And yes, can relate to the numbness. These holiday times are tough. So glad you got to have grey rain and Paris light and art to feed the soul.

    • ThirdCat December 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

      Couldn’t go to Musee d’Orsay…think I made a mistake not going, but I had to be extremely careful about the number and types of museum because the lads were brilliant companions, but really, they only had so much museum and art gallery in them.

  7. Kate December 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    And what’s wrong with middle class? We’re an important historical phenomenon, I’d have you know! 🙂

    Do you ever think ‘I remember thinking about that feeling, but I don’t remember what it felt to feel that way?’ I do, all the time. And then I have break throughs where I feel again and it’s amazing and I can’t imagine how I existed without it. But it does take a lot of energy, I’m bitter and old now, I can’t smile at the joy of teenage love everyday, some days it makes me roll my eyes and think ‘they’ll learn’. I try to find a balance but it’s a dynamic one, like a swing, not like a scale.

  8. Pavlov's Cat December 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    I’m just drop-dead impressed that littlest boy can spell ‘beautiful’. Perhaps he has absorbed le Frenchiness by osmosis.

    • ThirdCat December 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

      Perhaps he did – he was very much at home and in most excellent spirits for most of the time.

  9. The Coffee Lady December 7, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Hoorah for middle age! Let me tell you, crying at Monet is a wonderful thing. Crying at children’s television you only joined halfway through, not so much.

    You are way more classy than I am.

  10. Stomper Girl December 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    The water lilies made me cry and I was only 20 when I saw them. Their beauty is astonishing, mind-blowing. But my non-art-loving (ex) boyfriend kept shooting little nervous, puzzled looks at me, which I put down to either (a) they didn’t affect him like that and he was worried that he was missing the point (b) he thought he ought to comfort me, and / or (c) he was worried that I’d gone bonkers.

    I love your boy’s journal, and I love that the bathroom was clean when you got back, but mostly I love that your sense of connection is returning.

  11. Zoe December 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    No point going to the Musee d’Orsay, they’ve just shut for renos and sent some treasures to Canberra, bless them. I was just thinking today that I must take a hanky when I go.

    What I’ve loved about your writing from the beginning is the way the acuity of your observation is coupled with a tone that is somewhere between bland and affectless (that’s not a criticism, I’m struggling to express it, so apologies if it sounds weird.) Sadness and the necessary lookingcan get in the way of both those things, but you still write like a dream.

    I am so glad you went to Paris.


  12. blackbird December 8, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    I’m afraid that journal entry put a lump in my throat.
    It seems, to me, like you’ve come around just right.

  13. Kath Lockett December 8, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    Shit, now you’ve made me cry too.

    It’s good to feel.

  14. miriam December 8, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    i see someone’s feet still don’t reach the ground when he sits down 😉

  15. miriam December 8, 2009 at 2:36 am #

    and it’s lovely to have you back… and feeling.

  16. fifi December 8, 2009 at 4:01 am #


    So beautiful that tears are welling.

    there seems to be a Monet theme running through my life at present, with a lovely collection of images sent from that very room, which made me cry immediately, and I wasn’t even there.

    Oh I so know exactly exactly that. Everything. So lovely.

  17. Mummy Crit December 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Ah. Yes. Feeling, or not. Glad you got away. I have envy for your small boy’s lovely journal and handwriting.

  18. Helen December 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Oh yes, lovely to see you back!

  19. blue milk December 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    What a post!

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