And if I had to choose one moment.
To live within my heart.
It would be that tender moment.
Recalling how we started.
Darlin’ it would be when you smiled at me
That way, that Sunday, that summer.
(Nat King Cole – That Sunday That summer)
The first two days are tough to adjust to the timezone diference. Body clocks are off. Our family generally feels malaise and we have a hard time rolling out of the apartment by 11:00. In keeping with the theme of letting go and keeping it simple, I suggested we really didn’t need to take the metro with two connections and a handful of stops to get to our favourite church in Paris. Perhaps the best path was to start making a new griffe within our neighbourhood. Beside our metro stop, Corvisart, is a little church named after Ste Rosalie. My heart leapt at the name as it reminded me of a dear old friend who lives in NYC who is bright, delightful and Catholic. I knew instinctively this would be a good home for us.
The shepherd of this flock is P. Lionel Dumoulin and he did not disappoint. Mass started at 11:00, we arrived at 10:55. Ste. Rosalie was packed, standing room only. Chris and Emily were separated from Matt, Sarah and I as they were pushed forward by some well meaning usher to seats behind the alter. I get why the church was packed as it was the children participating in all aspects of the Mass. At the homily the first 5 rows were full of children and Father directed his lovely reflection at them. A question and answer period followed, and then he had the grace to sincerely look at the activity they had prepared and commented on each of their preparations. I was charmed, completely charmed by his humility and grace. Good stuff Father.
The same well meaning usher tried to take Matt’s hand so he could join the other children in the procession of gifts to the altar. Matt would have no part until he realized that he was going to get to carry a real candle lit with real fire. He gave the lady a look that said “You want to give me a candle with a flame?! Are you for real lady?!” A grin split his face a mile wide, he took her hand and disappeared into the narthax. He processed with the rest of the children, laid his candle at the base of the altar then ran back to me proud as punch. All I could think was that we dodged a bullet. Praise God Alleluia, Alleluia, we didn’t get burnt, burn anyone else or set the church on fire. God’s got our back and God’s got the details well in hand.
You can not tell me that the Catholic church is dead. One foot inside Ste. Rosalie would instantly change your mind. Both Chris and I learned lessons today that did not come from the Gospel but from the lay people and families attending Mass. We were blessed. Truly.
After After Mass we headed to Jardins des Plantes, one of our favourite gardens in Paris. After a lunch of Breton crépes and a café crème we made our way to the carousel. I love this carousel because it’s animals are creatures that are extinct. I want this Dodo on our front lawn. It’s expression destroys both Sarah and I into helpless giggles from which there is no return and the silliness just snowballs.
Gone are the two angsty, emo girls of last year, replaced by two young ladies helping with Matt full of laughter and fully participating in family conversation and life.
After a visit to the paleontology museum, we made our way back to the apartment and to dinner. A simple repas of tomatoes and basil in a vinaigrette. Beet salad and chevre and a liberal helping of escargots de bourgogne and wine helped us both relax. In the midst of a chaste kiss on the balcony with La Tour Eiffel twinkling on the horizon on a starry night Emily interrupted our rêverie by suggesting “Get a room!”