J’essaie, tu essaies, elle essaie …

August 31, 2009

I try to do too much. 

Every day this weekend, I have spent a minimum of an hour and a half driving, and a fair proportion of that time I was in heavy traffic, lost, or both, which obviously heightened this experience. As a result, I am going back to work tomorrow with no sense of having had a rest.

 Some of it’s been fun, though – the night away was good; going to introduce my mother to her own computer last night was nice and meant I got to drop in on the After School Club I used to attend when I first realised what I was; and then, this morning, I got a text from Piaf’s maman to say that she was sick and could I come home early? 

Cue a seventy-mile drive alternating high speeds with getting stuck behind caravans, lorries and, at one point, a Highways Agency vehicle which everyone was mistaking for a police car and thus refusing to overtake it. Barely out of the car, I was in sole charge of Piaf as maman traipsed sickly off to bed.

 Once I was over the self-pity and indignation at my partner’s lack of visible joy and gratitude (about five minutes – I’m getting better) I realised what a good deal I was getting out of it – only yesterday, wasn’t I moaning about having missed Piaf at the weekend proper and about how the Outlaws had tricked her into learning English? Here was my chance to make up for it.

 An hour of Duplo, Trotro and toy cars segued into another hour in Caffe Nero, eating pannetone (her) and croissants dunked in coffee à la française (me), reading picture books aloud (me) and bashing a multicoloured abacus (her), all through the medium of our shared language – then a quick trip to Sainsbury’s for full-fat milk and individual miniature boxes of raisins, and home for a nap (her, sadly, rather than me, but hey ho.) 

For several years now, I have been saying in meetings of After School Club that my worst day now is unrecognisably better than my best day then. Piaf, and the bond we have as the result of speaking another language to her, has only made that truer still.

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