Monday 6 February 2012

Postcards from Paris

Mac’s Aunties Valerie and Marty are preparing to welcome their daughter very soon. We are all very excited about the new addition at the Ireland household. A little friend for Mac, a shared experience for us, it’s all quite wonderful.

A few weeks ago my pregnant friend Valerie sent me a text telling me that she’s feeling nervous about impending motherhood. That’s a hard thing to admit when you are pregnant. It is made even more complicated when you have just spent thousands of dollars and a year of your life being poked and prodded by doctors to get pregnant. Anything less than pure jubilation feels ungrateful. I know because I’ve been there.

I want to validate her feelings and let her know that yes, motherhood is a lot of work and there will be days that are long and hard. But I also want to tell her that it is not all diapers and dishes and sleep deprivation. I want to tell her that not only will she be OK, she will rock this.

So imagine, my dear friend, that motherhood is like visiting France. You’ve wanted to visit France since you were a little girl. You sat your cabbage patch kid dolls around a pretend bistro table and served them lattes and biscotti and dreamed of the day you’d get to visit for real.

You had a lot to do before you would be ready. You needed to save up the money and find the right travel companion. And just when you were prepared to make the trip on your own you found her and decided to travel together. All of a sudden France sounded so wonderful that you thought you should pack up and move there forever. You were so excited when your passport arrived in the mail. You doodled FRANCE on your notebook, and underlined it with two, beautiful, solid lines. You were moving to France!

And then somewhere in the middle of packing you realized holy crap! We’re moving to France?!  It seems terrifying and overwhelming. You don’t know how to speak French. You realize that there’s so much about France that you don’t know.  You lie awake with your travel partner wondering if you made the right choice. Maybe you should have just taken a nice beach vacation instead.
Next, you begin to receive postcards from people already there and they tell you how dirty it is. They tell you that French people are rude and hard to understand. They warn you that everything over there is expensive and that life in France is far too busy.

And sometimes people who visited France decades ago overwhelm you with travel tips.  Take their advice in stride my friend and thank them for their wisdom. They are feeling nostalgic about their time en gay Paris and have only the best intentions. But you, you are going to rock Paris in your very own way. 

Finally, the day arrives and you board the plane. The ride might be shorter or longer than you expected. It might be lovely with an enjoyable in-flight movie and free wine or you might be sitting next to someone who reeks of sweat and insists on chatting away the entire trip. It might be a smooth ride or you could hit some turbulence.

Eventually, you will land in Paris and survey your new world. It will be confusing at first. The airport staff will begin speaking in French before you’ve even had a chance to catch your breath and you’ll stumble around for a few days trying to figure it all out. But before you know it you will parlez très bien français.

Some days you’ll stay at a five star hotel, sip champagne on your balcony, and take in the spectacular views. Other days you’ll be crashing at a youth hostel where people are awake all hours of the night and someone pukes in your hair. But what nobody tells you is that you won’t really mind that much because vous êtes à Paris! And if you are going to be awake half the night with puke in your hair it might as well be in Paris! 

And when morning comes, as it always does, you’ll notice that the view from the window at the hostel is the same as the one at the 5 star hotel. Because Paris is Paris regardless of your accommodations and gosh that Eiffel Tower is beautiful!  

If I could send you a postcard from Paris, my dear friend, I would tell you that the weather here is beautiful. I would tell you that I am sitting in an adorable café on a cobblestone road sipping on café au laits and nibbling on croissants. I would tell you that the views are magnificent and that the locals are very friendly once you learn their language. I would tell you that I’m saving you a seat in this sweet little café and that I’m so glad we get to see France together. 


P.S. Did you enjoy the postcards above? They were designed by my friend Laura of Laura Harfield Photography. Laura is an Ottawa photographer specializing in family photography, including baby/child and maternity sessions. If you are interested in having her photograph your family you can get her contact information by clicking here. And if you want to read the blog of a woman who is enjoying Paris to its fullest you can check out her blog here. 

P.P.S. Did you like this post? If so please consider clicking on the image below and voting for me on Top Mommy Blogs. You don't have to do anything once you get there. Just click on the image and you are done! 


  1. That brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful, just wonderful.

  2. This is a beautiful love letter (postcard)to your friends. A wonderful tribute.....and clever analogy :-)

    1. Thank-you Julie. They are going to be so great aren't they?

  3. What an absolutely beautiful tribute.

  4. This made me cry! How fortunate to have a friend to take this journey with.


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