Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — My daughter and I had a recent, completely unexpected opportunity to help a friend with a photography workshop in Paris, France. My daughter would model, I would help in the background while doing research for a current book, and we would get to see all things French.
Here are a few things I learned:
When you lose your cellphone just as you are about to board a plane for Paris with two children, stay calm. Instead of responding as I desired (scream, cry, panic) I smiled at my daughter and put her in charge of the baby. Then I ran — through the airport, to bathroom stalls, to Delta gate ticketing agents. At last, an angel of a restaurant customer suggested we call the cellphone, and voila! (Reunited and it feels so good ...) When in doubt, be calm, smile and act like all is going according to plan.
Take a baby in a stroller. Though some doubted my wisdom in taking a 1-year-old overseas (myself included), who knew that it would prove to be so helpful? Apparently French people love babies, or at least loved ours. We received incredibly friendly treatment the entire trip — from priority status on airlines to skipping the football field-long line at the Louvre — simply from toting our sweet Chubba. Clearly, being a mom has major perks.
Eat the baguettes with butter. I did not diet, accomplish goals or regularly exercise while in Paris. Instead, I ate, slept and enjoyed the experience, completely present. Some women I met ate less than 1,000 calories a day and survived on Diet Coke. But eating the French way, I only gained one pound (surely from the altitude change), which confirmed to me that life is to be wisely and deliciously lived, here or abroad.
When you lose your credit card in a major European city, stay calm. I had been using a vital document neck pouch to store passports, plane tickets and money. This handy item worked until, of course, I didn’t use it. Then I lost my credit card. In downtown Paris. Remembering prior lost cellphone experience, I stayed calm and ran — to every single store owner up and down narrow streets and asked in hideous French if they had seen the needed card. Finally, I re-checked our souvenir bags and voila! (Reunited and it felt so good…)
Embrace an adventure. Before I left, I was nervous about navigating a foreign country with children, helping my friend with the workshop and a host of other things. But what a gift it’s been. My daughter and I have returned home happier, emotionally expanded and with a host of priceless memories together.
Trust that things will get done at home. I came home to a sparkling clean house, all the laundry finished, and a new dishwasher that actually works. Two things are apparent: mom occasionally leaving for a period of time is a healthy thing, and we need another modeling trip so the yard will get done.
As a mother, I feel changed in subtle ways. I see my home life with fresh eyes, as well as what needs to change and what can be more fully enjoyed. So far, I’ve been able to hold onto a little of the “mode de vie Francais,” living the more present French way of life (which is likely not even close to how they really live, but still).
So my thoughts are these: Open yourself to a crazy opportunity, or create an adventure in your life today — something joyful and exciting that takes you out of your comfort zone. It can be a new hobby, updating the look of a room, scheduling a stimulating trip, etc. Whatever it is, life is moving on. Climb aboard.
Connie Sokol is an author, speaker, TV contributor and mother of seven. For more, visit www.conniesokol.com.