"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sage ~ Happy Birthday my Precious

Cruising the Seine with Sage

My beloved daughter - Sage Kathryn Hills celebrated her 7th birthday on Wednesday. Little did I know, that when I decided to become a mother, motherhood would enable me to re-discover Paris 27 years after my first visit...

Over the years, I have visited Paris during each of my distinct stages of growth (physically and spiritually): first as a child, then as a young woman, then as an adult (with my lover, Peter), then as a married woman (with Peter). But, for each of those visits, I was alone, single, without a care in the world. Moreover, the last half-dozen times I visited I was with my beloved. We were young and adventurous. Paris was our own personal wonderland. We dined, drank, strolled, wandered the museums, went dancing, made love and enjoyed all that Paris had to offer.

When I decided to become a mother, I knew that there was no question of introducing our children to Paris. Peter whole-heartedly agreed. You see I was smart enough, lucky enough, to marry a man who loves Paris as much as I. But as I was planning our first family trip, I was nonplussed to discover that I was nervous about how to plan to see Paris with three children under the age of 8. Moreover, most parents take their small children to Disney Land, or some such place, for a family's first big trip. Would my children be completely bored? Have nothing to do?

Shopping along rue du Rivoli (clockwise: Sage, me, Rory, Never, & Coco)

Before we even arrived at O'Hare Airport, I learned that my fears were completely unfounded. Sage is a fearless bohemian butterfly. She's happiest when we're all together - wherever, whenever. They all are, but that's for another post.

Sage on a pony ride - Jardin des Tuileries

Sage loved Paris. It was like she was free in an entirely different way than at home. Every new sight, sound, touch, aroma, and taste was a revelation; a revelation that was clearly shown on her beautiful little face. And Sage's discovery of Paris, led to my re-discovery...

Sage after her first carousel ride - Parc Champs de Mars (beneath the Eiffel Tower)

Sage is a fearless bohemian butterfly. If she saw someone who interested her, she went up to them and introduced herself in French! I have no idea when or how she learned to do that - but that's my Sage. And everyone she met could not help but fall under her spell and fall in love with her. And if you've had any experience with the French, you know that Americans consider them to be very standoffish. Apparently, Sage did not get the memo - good on her! Sage skipped, jumped, twirled, and conversed her way into the heart of everyone she met. She was like our personal ambassador.

Sage on her favorite carousel - Jardin des Tuileries

But what touched me the most, about watching my daughter discover and experience Paris, was her constant joy of...life and living. Sage's joy of Paris had the power of a tsunami; a pure and true. In every photo, Sage's face is full of the joy and wonderment of discovery and the freedom to explore at will - that is the gift that I give to her. I can't help but wonder if the expression on her face is the same that my mother saw on my face when she first took me to Paris. I think that it is.  

Sage after her first taste of Chocolate Chaud

Throughout our trip, time and time again, Sage did or said something that made me think: "Oh my Goddess, I have a daughter, a beautiful, precious, amazingly adored DAUGHTER!" One day, during our daily stroll around our neighborhood, we walked by a vintage Paris tea shop. I don't remember the name, but I know exactly where it is. And it's the stuff of fantasy - hard wood floors, tiny marble topped tables with beautiful flowers and doilies, plush red velvet bankheads, display cases full of delectables - the perfect spot for a Diva in training. As we walked by I said nothing, but right then and there I knew that, upon our next trip - mom, Sage, Coco and I would return for a girlfriend-tea...Can't wait!

My beloved Sage

I've loved Paris, for nearly my entire life. Paris has gifted me with many things. And as marvelous as Paris is, I never suspected that my torrid love affair with Paris would enable me to gain greater insight into my motherhood. To see Paris anew through the eyes and spirit of Sage is a gift indeed. I cannot until the next adventure.

Happy Birthday Sage, from your ever adoring, ever loving mother...

Vivre, de rire, de l'amour!


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