French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.
Today’s prompt: Have you ever faced a difficult situation when you had to choose between sorting it out yourself, or asking someone else for an easy fix? What did you choose — and would you make the same choice today?
The answer to this question was almost a surprise to my own self. Me, the independent, fierce traveller, justneedairtobreath kind of girl did not even think twice when asked who I would call when faced a difficult situation !
I would call Ma Maman. It took us a while before we really became friends. I guess I am not this conventional daughter she would have dreamt of. While all my classmates were having the kind of life that would make their Mum proud (= get married and find a stable job, preferably as a civil servant), I was driving my Land Cruiser among mine fields in Sudan, free as a bird. While the Nathalie, Sophie and other Isabelle were busy reproducing, I was feeding starving children in Niger. Our views on the world were so different that a simple chat would turn into a passionate debate of opinion. Totally frustrating and exasperating.
When I met Marcel, I was already on the less sparkly side of my thirties. You would not believe her words when she met him. Her confidence in my “engagement skills” were so appealing that she literally thanked him for being with me! Even more embarrassing, she confessed she had prayed so hard for this day. I still wonder if she had realized that her words did actually get out of her mouth..
Then I got pregnant with Maelle. I was alone in India, Marcel could only visit me every three months, and ice on the cake, I was bedridden. As strange as it then seemed to me, the only person I wanted by side was my Mom. I did not even had to ask. Here she was, she had traveled all the way from Paris to Delhi in a the blink of an eye!
Those days in my little apartment.. I still resent the asthmatic aircon coughing its cold air far too sporadically to be of any help. Those damned pigeons waking me at dawn (you have no idea how much I hate them!), turning me into a depressed sleep deprived zombie. I had nothing left to read, no TV, my computer had crashed a week before… Basically, we had nothing to do and nowhere to go. Scary, no? Truth is, those days were actually blessing in disguise.
We finally had time to discover each other, to really talk our heart out, two women getting to know each other. Nothing judgmental, no more “daughter” or “mother” labels on our foreheads.
I was freaking out by the mere thought of giving birth, had a couple of panic attacks that she handled with so much fun and positive attitude. We would spend hours trying those “meditative and positive technic” she had read about, but never really made it because we would laugh too hard. She braved the inferno of Delhi 50 degrees and its yellow smoke of pollution to venture in the market, so she could cook me my favorite meals (who would believe a real couscous would make me so happy? this precious memory still make my chin quiver!).
I discovered a woman so energetic, witty and adaptable. For someone who never left Europe before and hardly spoke any English, she was just amazing! Her impulsive and indecisive self that used to irritate me so much had simply vanished.
I welcomed the news of my “medical evacuation to Europe” with a mix of relief to finally get back home; and anxiety to have to live the next 6 months with.. my Mum!
I won’t pretend we lived in perfect honeymoon all the time, the apple never falls far from the tree. She has her temper, I have mine. But I still cherish the memories of those bonding times, and I am so proud to call her my best Friend. In retrospect, when I realize how great she did (and still does!) with me and my brothers, I know that if I turn to be half the woman my Mum is , I would have succeeded!
Whenever I am in doubt with my options, when I feel lost or just need a little pad in the back, I’ll call Mum! She knows exactly how to pick me up when I am down and trade her warm smile for my frown.
For all the dreams we have shared, the tears and laughter too: Je t’aime ma p’tite poulette !!!!!
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