I've had this idea in the back of my mind for awhile... to be in Paris in May of 2011. I want to be there over Mother's Day and May 11. My mother died May 11 of 2001 and we buried her on Mother's Day that year. I'd like to be in Paris on that 10 year anniversary.
The first year after she died I was in Notre Dame at the exact moment of her death the year before. It was where I needed to be. Afterwards I went to Angelina's, and wrote, over curried chicken salad and their famous hot chocolate. I walked a few blocks to one of my favorite shops in Paris for perfume. Perfume is one of those little luxuries I adore, and has always been a symbol to me of finding joy in daily living. Then I surrounded myself with Monet's final eight works in l'Orangerie and tried to pull some of that beauty into my soul.
One of the greatest gifts Mama ever gave me was to teach me to do the things that make me happy. So on that day, I grieved - intensely and painfully - all morning for the loss of her. And that afternoon I celebrated the blessing of happiness she gifted me with, and walked around Paris grateful for it. That night I slept soundly, waking to a new reality. I had to say goodbye to some other things that May 11, some possibilities, and I had to accept some new realities. It was one of those "defining moment" days in my life.
For a few weeks I've been thinking about returning to Paris next May. Tonight I even looked up one of the places I've stay and it's available over that time frame, which is somewhat surprising. But, the cost of being there for a week is almost identical to just one of the medical bills I opened yesterday. So, my current reality only allows for trips to Paris in flights of fancy.
I have myself on such a strict budget that I haven't even allowed the purchase of a particular perfume I ran out of this past summer. Of course, I have plenty of other perfume, but it's funny how those little things matter so much. It's no surprise I guess. After all, I wrote a whole "This I Believe" piece about how little things matter to me.
But, obviously, these are not life or death problems, and I don't want to give the impression I don't understand that. I do. Very well. So, I think for now I'll just have to visit Paris in my mind, in those flights of fancy.