Did you know that in French public school they take your kids swimming
as part of the curriculum? I didn’t either. And it’s wonderful. They
spend a semester going once a week and learning the basics. For free.
One more thing to recommend school here as far as I’m concerned.
All they ask is that parents sign up to come along on the bus, help the
kids change, and retain some order to and fro once a semester.
Yesterday was my day to chaperone Ma Fille’s class. As with all
of these school functions and volunteering, the kids giggle when I speak
French, ask me their two favorite questions in English, ‘whot ees yourh
nahme?’ and ‘how h’old arhe yoooh?’ and stare, stare, stare. And in
each case my kids are a strange combination of proud and embarrassed.
As I have just been randomly asked ‘not to ever dance in front of my
friends’, as if she’s got some big dance party planned and is afraid I’m
going to start shaking it and doing my signature move–thumbs up,
moving across and alternating sides, hips shifting with the thumbs (it’s
something very special)–I felt maybe the embarrassed might be inching
up on the proud and I’d better be on my best behavior.
I was mostly quiet. Speaking only when spoken to, ‘My name is Aidan.’ ‘I am 3* years old.’ Tee hee, giggle, stare.
The best part was watching my lovely fille. She was giggling, holding hands and speaking French. The entire time. Even to me. This is the girl who used to say, ‘Je suis timide’
and refuse to talk. Now she’s in on the jokes. Looking out from
sparkling eyes, saying things I can’t even understand and fitting right
in. I cannot tell you how proud and happy it makes me feel to see this
happening. I was told it would. And I hoped and believed and now it’s
coming true. If there was any one thing I was most ‘inquiet’
about before moving here it was the kids being in French school. I can
whole-heartedly say that everyone was right. And like most worries, it
As I sat on that bus, rumbling back to the school, my heart nearly burst
with joy for her. She didn't cling to me or want me to sit with her,
'sit behind me mommy'. But it wasn't like she didn't want me there
either. She was happy for me to see. To know who she is out there in the
French world without me and how well she's doing.
Is there anything we want more for our children than that? No matter where we live or who we are.