My mother, myself

Two years ago, I visited my folks for a too short time, as always, and proceeded to document my stay, with snippets of video, and the intention to publish blogs captioning them once I would be back home, on my computer, with my time and software, as I am far from being equipped when I travel, and my know-how is pretty limited.

I also visited the Normandy landing beaches with my brother, nephew and my two sons, and it was a very emotional and beautiful journey through our common French-American history.

Once I returned home, it was a time of sorrow and distress very soon after I settled down, for the passing of a dear friend who reminded of my own mother in so many unexpected ways.

Being away from my own mother made me particularly  sensitive to that time of loss for those experiencing it. As I was struggling with grief and bereavement, I did something totally stupid without even realizing it, and in a jiff all my videos from the previous trip were deleted forever, before I had had the time to save or back them up as I usually did.

Today I am back again in my hometown, with many more losses that left many of us aching in the meantime, but my mother and father are still the same, and I am well determined to cherish the time I am spending with them, with an urgent desire to safeguard all kinds of memories that would be irreplaceable.

My mother started to document her years too. She likes scribbling notes and telling the stories of the people that she remembers all too well, with details that no one she tells ever would memorize, but she will repeat those details until we agree we are well aware of them, when the only thing we remember is that family details are always obscure and complicate.

Before I have time to grab a pad and make any attempt to organize all this information, she is already gone. Gone to the kitchen with lots of plans to prepare delicious meals that are the center of the family life always, even if everyone else around her is busy on a screen. She will then call everyone to the table when it is ready, and cry that noone is coming because they want to finish their screen time first. It usually takes a good moment before the whole family finally sits around the table, time for her to lament that “ce n’est pas une table” which actually means that this is not how she had planned that we would rush to the delights on first notice, although this ritual has been going on for about fifty years already, and would invariably repeat itself twice a day, when she calls for meal time…

Mother and daughter at the lunch table in Paris, August 23, 2012