I don’t think any of us actually expected for me to spend the night there, but due to the aforementioned unforeseen circumstances that happened while I was in Strasbourg, N called me to make sure that everything was okay. The moment he said, “We all love you very much,” my end of the call disintegrated into me sobbing, unable to say anything other than “Okay” and “Thank you.”
He let me text him with the decision of whether or not I wanted to stay over, and M picked me up in the evening, took me to a flower shop, and then to their house. They weren’t doing anything particularly special other than eating dinner on the couch instead of around the table, but Tess and Lily were nonetheless beyond excited because they got to eat everything without utensils—it was all finger foods, like carrots, radishes, pastry-wrapped meats, pretzels, grapes, shrimp, and cauliflower.
Tess and Lily got to stay up late, aka 9:50, but N, M, and I didn’t even make it to midnight—N’s reasoning was, “We’re old, crippled people,” while M’s was “No, we’re parents,” and mine was…well, I’m an old lady who constantly gets mistaken for a high-schooler. I ended up stealing Lily’s bedroom for the night (sorry, Lily), and while there was no monster in the room like she claimed, the various dolls stashed in the corners were terrifying enough.
Breakfast consisted of what was probably one of the most endearing, stereotypically French things I’ve seen: baguettes. (Not that I’m complaining, especially when they were fresh from the boulangerie and accompanied by Nutella, honey, and jam.) I was probably more baffled by the fact that they gave me a huge bowl for my tea.
The girls insisted on repeatedly playing Old Maid with me, giving me the opportunity to acquire random card game vocabulary, and N drove me back to Claudel after lunch. I forgot to take the white roses that I bought yesterday, but I turned down M’s offer to bring them to me: I think they’re better off in a warm home with a welcoming family than in the wintry frost outside.
Highlights of my time chez eux: Tess dramatically dancing to Christmas music after dinner; Lily asking if she could sit on my knees and wear my boots (she and Tess, for whatever reason, love wearing M’s and my shoes because they have heels and clack across the floor); Martin trying to give me chips from his mouth because he doesn’t quite understand bites yet and shoves way too much food into his mouth; and Lily and Martin gifting me with bisous. He also gave me the oh-so-thoughtful gifts of a chocolate chip and a strand of hair he picked off the floor. Still, look at how adorable this child is—his smile and his cheeks are baby magazine cover material. (That is, if you ignore the terrifying doll that’s bigger than Martin himself.)
Anyways, this post is really just a shout-out to N and M for being two of the nicest people I’ve ever met and taking me in during a time when I really needed the company…and me gushing over how adorably precious their children are.