9/29/12 - 9/30/12 68 °F
About 10 minutes into Saturday night's card playing, we were all belting out "Buffalo Soldier." Coco had been humming the tune. I told her I knew the words to the song she was humming. So the three of us sang, loud and clear. Eventually I admitted I didn't remember ALL the words and we looked them up online. We talked about slavery and who Bob Marley was and why he was so important to Jamaica and music. It was great to talk to them about Bob Marley, someone I've spent a lot of time listening to. I found images of Bob online but no video of him singing the song. I learned that the song was actually released posthumously.
We had spent some time yesterday afternoon talking about the Holocaust. Being here, and knowing that our trip will only present more opportunities to talk about it, I decided to introduce the kids to the holocaust yesterday. We've been spending s lot of time in Le Marais, a historically Jewish neighborhood and I wanted to go to the holocaust memorial but the visit deserved a thoughtful preface. That is, a sit down discussion at home instead of an on-the-side-walk we're-almost-there overview. All news to them.
I get emotional when I talk to my kids about horrible things, things I wish I could shield them from forever. I remember crying telling them for the first time why we celebrate Memorial Day, why they have a day off school for that, sitting in front of the Post's "faces of the fallen" pages (and pages). I cried a bit yesterday. We went to the "memorial de la Shoah" yesterday afternoon. I suspected it would be closed (it was) but recall being able to see a lot of it from outside. We could see the list of Jews taken from France by the Nazis and talked for a long time about the very long list of French people who've been recognized for helping French Jews avoid persecution. We talked about speaking up when they knew some one was being mistreated. That this is one of our greatest responsibilities. Cried again.
When we were reading the lyrics to Buffalo Soldier (ok, we eventually DID the karaoke on YouTube), we talked about slavery and the holocaust. "fighting on arrival, fighting for survival."
Heavy stuff. It was getting pretty sad at the dining table until Henry played the Chipmunks doing Buffalo Soldier. No, not the Chipmunks covering Bob Marley!!!
The kids spent about 6 hours today on the zip lines in Luxembourg gardens. The dad sitting next to me on a bench had a City Bikes messenger bag. Turns out he lived in Adams Morgan in the mid-90's and his friend was a City Bikes manager, even introduced him to his now wife. The kids and I walked to the gardens and back, our usual putzy selves. We bought a little painting from an artist sitting on one of the bridges.
Henry's birthday is next Saturday and I've been collecting little things for them to find on a treasure hunt in the apartment. I got them each a cheap scarf and some trinkets today, knowing Henry is already about to burst not knowing what I've been gathering. When we are in a store here or I'm waiting in line in any crowded spot (ok, everywhere is crowded here...), I often ask both kids to go and wait outside for me. They love that tiny bit of independence and I appreciate some breathing room. And, it gives me a minute to buy a scarf or a keychain. They are young enough where we all hold hands while walking, they put on fashion shows in the apartment,they hold an elaborate wedding ceremony for their two giant balloons, we snuggle at bedtime. But, they are old enough to wait outside for a minute or two! Love those kids. They bicker and fight aplenty, but they love each other so.