Tag Archives: Childhood

Others’ opinions

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I recently met my schoolmate whom I have not seen in two decades or so. At some point she dropped me a message, when she realised that we live in the same region.

So, on a Sunday afternoon she, her kid and husband were at our door. We love guests, so we soon settled in a nice conversation around some home baked warm goodies. Our kids swiftly immersed themselves into play. It was all lively and lovely.

After we had our coffee, my schoolmate suddenly remembered how much she and her friend laughed at my acting in primary school. I always somehow landed lead roles in school plays.

Her voice was remorseful. She remembered this for decades and seemed to want to say it to me out loud. She remembered some of my roles’ lines from back then. I must have been good.

I was not bothered by her confession. She was 8-9 years old. I loved acting. I was oblivious to their comments. And that was wonderful.

If I would have known and started paying less and less attention to what made me me — my talents, beliefs — and would have started conforming to what others may or may not think, it would have harmed my free expression and my potential.

As adults we tend to listen to and spend time on ruminating over others’s opinions until it spirals into infinite. Thanks to extensive research we can learn to deal with it. If you want to learn more, read “How to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You” by Michael Gervais, Harvard Business Review, 2 May 2019.

An autumn love story

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On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.

We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.

She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.

They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to him and told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.

The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.

As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:

– Oh, darling, your back hurts you again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.

– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.

– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.

Mathilde blushed and directed his eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”

– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.

We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.

P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.

Gaming parenting

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– Let’s go for a walk.

– Mom, it’s 2020! Who does this anymore?!

What we did instead was to play and hang out in Adopt me.

I played the baby and Sofia played the mom. A very good mom to a very spoiled brat. My personality online is the opposite of the one in real life. I wonder what Freud would say about it… Not that I care.

I chose my outfit – urban romantic glamour, in case you need to know. I decorated my room for a budget of 100 Gamedollars.

We had ice cream and pizza with Ramsay – in this precise order. Oh, Heaven!

We spent time on the playground and by the camp fire. I only had 50 gamedollars on my game account and I spent the time of my life. Because it was time spent with my treasure.

Kids grow. So do parents. When was the last time you played with your kid?

Easter meanings

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This Easter for me is about those who put food on our table. Every day. Crisis, no crisis.

Those who work the land from dusk to dawn. Those who water the crops and harvest it. Those who get their hands dirty and foreheads sweaty. Those who deliver it and put it on the shelves, so that we only pick and choose with our manicured hands.

Those in school kitchens, restaurants and cafes who feel no pain from burns and cuts, as their remedy is love for food and people they feed.

Parents who cook for their kids. Kids who cook for their parents. Grandmas who know no sleep over simmering pots in anticipation of their visiting grandchildren.

All those who will share what they have and cut a boiled egg in 2 and share it with a hungry human or a hungry cat.

Those who are grateful for their food and kiss the hands of those who put food on table. Every day.

Teleworking week 4: view from home – serendipity

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By the end of this week, I developed an interest in Kardashians. I know everything about Stormie. I do not keep up yet with the entire klan (k – on purpose) of Kardashians. If this lasts, however, you never know.

My hubby trusted me with his haircut. I am not yet ready to reciprocicate.

I joined the diminishing trend of the blond population, estimated to go down by 70-80 percent. We, blondes, need to remain trendy.

My succulent is blossoming. Spring is in da house:

Teleworking week 4: view from home: domestic violence

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I was raised in a family dormitory so I know about domestic violence not from the social publicity of last decade or so. I am thinking of millions who experience domestic violence in confinement and for whom work outside the home might be a/the only survival strategy. When resources are put into national and global emergencies, most vulnerable tend to remain outside the focus. Even if the numbers justify national and global responses to domestic violence.

It was only as of last week that authorities commenced to realise what confinement means for those who share a space with their abusers, after reported cases jumped by 30% in some countries, which are considered developed.

International Organisations started sounding the alarm and a number of statements followed from the Council of Europe and UN. Human rights mechanisms will have to deal with the way domestic violence was dealt with at national levels.

Some global newspapers covered the topic. Journalists do some justice to these victims by bringing the issue to light. The psychological consequences of trauma on victims and, in particular, children and elderly who suffer and witness all this, go into no economic analysis, politicians are currently preoccupied with. I once employed a victim of domestic violence and got to learn lots from this experience. For policy and decision makers these victims appear as casualties of this crisis management, as cynical as it sounds. In fairness, there are jurisdictions which manage it well. We can only hope that their experience will be shared and we will learn from it.

Crisis or no crisis, there is no truth in suffering.

Teleworking week 3: view from home

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While teleworking, I discovered that routine is queen. Yet, I remember that it is a constitutional monarchy. Dancing and crying and hugging and feeling sad are not under her rule. I can do any or all of that, if I feel like. No permission from the queen-routine required.

At the first walk-around-the-block since this started: « Mom, I have an impression I am walking with a toddler…». I was beyond myself from the sun and air and river view. Never in my life the view of a swimming water rat excited me to levels I never knew. I promise, my child, I’ll grow swiftly back into your mom.

As we cannot go and greet the spring, the way we used to, we turn to art. Thank you Conny Famm for your “State of soul”.

My shopping patterns changed. I cancelled orders. That’s a first for me. Instead, I redirected the money to a local initiative of chefs cooking for hospitals’ staff in the region – Des repas pour les anges gardiens. And in my home country through Diaconia http://www.diaconia.md.

The fight for internal resources – the one and only laptop in the house – ended with a gentlemen agreement.

I “went” to a ballet performance. « LAC » by Jean-Christophe Maillot at Monte Carlo Opera, courtesy of Monaco plus.

I seriously upgraded my emoji use skills. From novice to intermediate. I am still very far from the emoji-master in my house. I’ve got something to aspire to.

We welcomed a new precious member into our family and thank him for reminding us of the gift of life. We wish him a happy and long life! And we promise to be more conscious of what we do to mother Earth and how we treat each other.

Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 2

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I clearly distinguish now by voice the neighbours’ kids: baby, toddler 1, toddler 2, just kid, teenager 1, teenager 2.

My average weekly walking distance is a joke. I turned off the counting. Walking with the phone in the pocket does not help.

I am glad I can cook and bake. These skills are priceless. Thank you, grandmother. I know you are smiling with satisfaction now.

I am disappointed that there was no funny incident during my kid’s virtual classes this week. You know, like the ones facebook is flooded with. With the exception of a background noise of some plates reaching the floor and the teacher’s voice: “ Attention, la vaisselle!” I hope it was not too expensive.

I immersed myself in hand washing, stream-washing style. Excellent for shoulders. Some of my wash-by-hand cloths are having a pool party. At least someone does.

And, my succulent is a text book example of resilience: and it shall bloom no matter what.

Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 1

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The closest pharmacy to my place is on the ground floor of my apartments bloc. The other day, as I was waiting outside for my turn to enter, a seniour citizen in his late 70s “approached” me:

– You are not wearing a mask…. Why?, he asked, a bandana in his hand.

– I do not need to. It serves those who are sneezing, coughing…, I answered summoning all my empathy.

– You know, he replied, I am terrified. I watch the TV and see all that….

– I have no TV for ten years now.

– You may be right, he said,…about the TV.

– Would you like to go inside the pharmacy? I can wait, I offered.

He gladly took my offer. I could hear their conversation. The pharmacist assumed he had hearing problems so he was yelling his answers. The gentleman was clearly scared. He did not buy anything. He needed human interaction and hypeless communication.

There is no right or wrong way to react to all around in these new circumstances. It’s one thing to watch a SF movie and another to be here and now. This is one of the reasons I never liked SF movies and apocalyptic views.

Back to the story of this gentleman. He is one of the millions, indoors, with a TV only as a company, probably, his loneliness brought at another level… . Psychologists already noticed it. Too many bad news and little information on recovery is dangerous for the human psyche. Psychologists around the world keep encouraging to try to look for positives and share them when you talk to others. It is demonstrated by research that a stressed mind diminishes the immune response.

Some countries and regions have installed services for people to call and talk to someone. Some of us are doing it at personal level – through baskets of solidarity or food ordered and delivered to those who need it. I see it in my country, enabled by charities joining forces with the business, like Diaconia and Kaufland.

Again, on a personal level one can read a book by skype/phone or start a virtual book club. Or put together a list of online entertainment: free opera streaming, concerts, movies, virtual museums visits etc. Little gestures which bring a human voice and touch to a lonely human heart … .

I loved Daniel Kaufmann’s article of this week “Caremongering – random acts of kindness” https://www-brookings-edu.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/19/caremongering-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-random-acts-of-kindness-and-online-enrichment/amp/

Here is to caremongering – random acts of kindness today and everyday.