Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

2/15/21, Love

Posted on February 16, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is going as smoothly as possible for you on the roller coaster ride of the pandemic. The numbers seem to be coming down in a lot of places, and then you read about the “mutations” and it scares you all over again. I hope we’re all being as careful as we can be, and being as safe as we can, without missing out on life entirely. It’s a fine line to walk, following all the rules, and not getting totally isolated, and missing out on life entirely. And lots of people are trying to figure out how they feel about the vaccines.

 

People are social animals, and it’s really hard to be deprived of the company of others and our loved ones. I always feel better when I get out and see people. I REALLY miss seeing friends at restaurants. The restaurants in Paris have been closed since late October, and there is talk that they won’t open again until April and May. I see a few friends at my home, with plenty of fresh air and a respectful distance, but there are only a handful of people I see now. I can’t wait to give a party when this is all over!!! I can hardly wait for that.

 

Valentine’s Day turned out to be really lovely. I talked to all my kids, and they spoiled me as usual, and a very dear friend came by for a visit. It is soooooo nice to talk to a friend, share opinions and just relax, and have a good laugh. And the day before, two other friends came for a visit. So it was a pretty nice weekend.

 

It has been very, very cold in Paris, and icy-scary-slippery on the streets, and it snowed twice. I spent some time with my son and daughter in law on Face Time helping them move things around in their home, to make more room (I swear by Ikea closets, and have them everywhere!!). And it was really fun, being part of it. I am a great ‘space maker’, with nine kids, and always a house full of people, with a ton of stuff—and five daughters who have a lot of clothes, I’ve been figuring out how to create space for ‘stuff and people’ for years. Give me a measuring tape, a note pad, and an Ikea catalogue and I can create miracles. I had a walk in closet with a window once, and turned it into a tiny cozy bedroom. It worked well for several years!!!

 

I’ve been doing some writing and editing. Sometimes I feel that I am slower at getting things done in the pandemic. There is always an underlying anxiety, which is distracting, and I don’t whiz through things as fast as I usually do. I don’t like putting things off till the next day, but some days I just have to.

 

And I was reading your comments to this blog tonight. Thank you for your wonderful messages.

 

I’m going to share something with you that I have on my desk. I have it framed and it inspires me. I’m not sure where I got it, but I framed it so I can see it every day, right next to my computer. Maybe it will inspire and comfort you too.

 

It’s titled “Love”

 

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; No disease that enough love will not heal’; No door that enough love will not open: No gulf that enough love will not bridge; No wall that enough love will not throw down; No sin that enough love will not redeem.

It makes No difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, How hopeless the outlook, How muddled the tangle, How great the mistake; A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If you can love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.”

 

 

I hope that helps you. It does me. Stay safe and take care, and have a fantastic week!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

12/21/20, Twas four days before Christmas…

Posted on December 21, 2020

 

“Twas four days before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”

 

Hi Everyone, just four more days until this controversial Christmas that has everyone stressed out, trying to decide what they should do responsibly, what their families expect of them, and what their neighbors will say…or just do whatever they want. And even the people who truly believe they are responsible, and work hard at it, make concessions here and there. Even people in government and the people who are supposed to set an example have made some flagrant mistakes, and broken their own rules.

 

I hope you had a good week as we lead up to Christmas. Only four more days, and I do find people anxious and stressed out at the moment. But who can blame them. Our own family faced a minor dilemma. For all of my children’s lives, Santa Claus has made an appearance at the end of Christmas Eve dinner, usually at dessert, and by then some wine has been served now that they’re all adults. We hear the bell ringing, and a minute later, there is a resounding Ho Ho Ho!!! outside the dining room, and then there he is. Large and Round, in a red velvet suit trimmed in white plush, with his wide black leather belt and boots, white mustache and beard very convincing, his hat and his sack, and he enters the room and circles the table, stopping at each member of the family to make an appropriate comment about how did that car work out for you, and do you like the boyfriend I sent you last year…..how’s your cooking coming…how’s the puppy I brought you two years ago. And for those moments, no matter how old we are, we really believe he’s the real deal (if he does his job well. That does not include the Santa several years ago that we now refer to as The Communist Santa, who saw us living and eating well, nicely dressed for Christmas eve, and gave us a very stern and surprising lecture about what kind of people were we that we didn’t give away everything we have, and live more simply while working to free oppressed people around the world. We didn’t have him back. The message was a little heavy for Christmas Eve). And always at the end of Santa’s tour of the table with knowing comments, we take turns sitting on Santa’s lap, for photo ops, no matter how old we are (me too), and ask him for the impossible, hoping that by some miracle we’ll get what we ask for, a new house, a better job, a husband, a wife, a baby. We all enjoy a warm moment with Santa. But in this year of Covid, even he is having to work remotely.  We took a family vote, and Santa got voted out both times, the conclusion was that the visit from Santa on Christmas Eve just isn’t worth the risk, even though we’ll all miss him. Only my three children spending Christmas together would have had the visit, everyone else will be in their own homes, to keep Christmas small and risk free this year. Their other siblings and I won’t be with them, they’ll be in their own homes. And I guess Santa will be at home at the North Pole this year, and Rudolph will deliver all the gifts on his own with the other reindeer. So No visit from Santa for us this year. The origin of the at home Santa visit was so that I didn’t have to stand on line for 3 hours at some department store with nine young children, while all the other children coughed and sneezed, and mine inevitably caught the flu from them. And we’re dealing with a MUCH bigger flu now. But our tradition of the Santa visit has lingered, and hopefully will be back next year. We are sad not to be seeing Santa this year, but it’s one more change due to the Coronavirus.

 

There will be a lot of changes this year for all of us, some families not together to celebrate, college kids who can’t travel home, grandparents whom everyone is trying to avoid seeing in order to keep them safe. And hopefully the changes will be enough rules respected to really make a difference and help us to get a handle on the pandemic, bring the numbers down, and not wind up with another huge spike which throws us back into confinement after the holidays.

 

One thing truly shocks me, is how many people are planning major trips during the holidays. Many people in Europe are planning to visit Swiss ski resorts, since the French and Italian ones aren’t open, and it is strongly recommended not to plan ski holidays. Others are escaping to warmer weather in Morocco and even in Dubai, where life more closely resembles what we knew before the pandemic. Some Europeans are going to Spain, which has lower numbers than its European neighbors. Given how we have all been urged not to travel, all around the world, I don’t understand how people can plan these trips, knowing the risks they are taking, and that the fallout from them is liable to worsen the already dangerous situation we are in. And many Americans, as well as Europeans, are not heeding the pleas not to travel, and are planning to do it anyway. It is painful to hear about those holiday plans, knowing that we will pay dearly for those trips later, just as Thanksgiving travel has created the bleak numbers we are experiencing now in the U.S. a month later. I hope that somebody plans to follow the rules and the advice not to travel. Right about now, the pandemic is seeming endless to all of us, and we are all sick and tired of the rules we have to live with, the confinements, the lack of ability to have a ‘normal’ social life, and for many of us, the chance to spend Christmas with our loved ones. Some people are making big sacrifices, while others blithely choose to ignore the rules. We can’t hide from the reality of the pandemic anywhere in the world. And the numbers of people getting infected with the virus, and the death toll are harsh wake up calls.

 

Four days before Christmas, many countries and cities are in full lock down, while others are in a modified version of it. We’re trying to cling to our traditions, and adjust them as best we can, or shelve them for another year. In San Francisco, one of my daughters saw a group of 25 carolers without masks, in a highly populated neighborhood, singing their hearts out, although singing is particularly said to be a dangerous spreader of the virus and is strongly discouraged. Some people just don’t want to listen.

 

ALL of my Christmas will be virtual this year, which makes me particularly cranky about those not following the rules. There will be no Christmas dinner with family, no chance to hug my children, no midnight mass, none of our cherished traditions. I will be alone on Christmas this year, for the first time in my entire life, because it was just too dangerous to travel to be with my family. We opted for caution and safety, and it was a very hard decision to do so. And as hard as it is, I hope that others will be reasonable this year too, at least to some degree, even if they don’t give up celebrating it completely. The more serious we are about the holidays this year, the better and safer and healthier they will be next year, and hopefully we will be able to put the pandemic behind us, all around the globe.

 

In the meantime, I hope that you will have special moments with family or friends, that the spirit of Christmas will shine in your hearts, that you will reach out to those who need to be remembered and may be alone this year. It is a year in which joy will take many new and different forms and creative expressions, when we need to count our blessings, respect others, and work together toward a healthy world again.

 

I wish you joy and peace and good health and love in the coming year, and may all your holiday wishes come true. Please be safe, as best you can, every moment and every gesture of caution counts, for all of us.

 

May you be blessed in every way this holiday, and may you be a blessing to others, with all my love,  Danielle

 

12/14/20, Before The Dawn

Posted on December 14, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope it was a pretty decent week, even a good one. I hope some good things happened, good news. And thank you for your support about my family’s very hard decision not to get together for the holidays, although we haven’t seen each other since February—–a Very, Very, Very long time. We’re a very close family and see each other a lot more often, and it took real courage, fortitude and strength and love for each other to sacrifice spending a holiday together that we love so much. But it was the right thing to do, the loving thing to protect each other, and not take undue risks by travelling. Painful as it is, we followed the rules—-to put our weight in the right side of the scale, to help stop the sharp rise of the pandemic in the US. But it wasn’t easy, in fact one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made, and we are sad about it, but comforted to know that we did the right thing. Hearing your support for that decision meant a lot.

 

Restrictions are tightening up in many places that need it, and easing up in countries where the numbers and conditions have improved. San Francisco went into full lockdown last week, although their hospitals weren’t overcrowded yet. And restaurants are closing in New York today for indoor dining. It’s a familiar refrain all over the world. And the numbers in the US have continued to rise, which is discouraging.

 

And I hope that wherever you are, you can make plans that you will be able to enjoy for Christmas with the people you love.

 

A saying comes to mind that I have often found to be true, “The night is always darkest before the dawn.” Just when things seem the bleakest and most discouraging, something finally shifts, and things start to improve. I feel certain that the dawn is coming soon. Hang in, we’ll get there. And keep being careful, and take care.

 

Have a peaceful, happy, wonderful week.

 

love, Danielle

 

12/9/20, Hard Decisions

Posted on December 9, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is going smoothly, wherever you are—but we seem to be in the same boat all over the world now, in varying degrees. Certain European countries are doing better, after being confined for a month. Modified confinements are being practiced, with restaurants open in some places, not in others, or for takeout only, stores open to varying degrees, while governments try to blend and marry physical safety in the pandemic, with steps to keep the economy afloat all over the world. And in the US, a wide divergence between places with strict confinement, and others with no restrictions at all. And sadly, the result is numbers that are skyrocketing, with the effects of Thanksgiving yet to be felt later this week, and Christmas and New Year coming. We are all dependent on each other and how responsible people are.

 

My family and I made a tough decision about the holidays. We decided not to gather the whole family on Thanksgiving this year, which was a sacrifice for a holiday we hold dear, and include friends in our celebration every year. This year, the family decided to stay where they were and not come home from cities all over the country, and in Europe. And we just made the same decision for the holiday we love most. Our family won’t be together for Christmas, and we will give up our Christmas as a whole family this year. It’s our contribution to the situation, and to each other, to remain safe. It was a very hard decision, one of the hardest I have had to face. We made it jointly in a series of conference calls, and it was a unanimous vote to remain safe, and not bring all of us together. Our family will spend Christmas in small groups across the country, without travelling to be together.

 

I hope that you will give serious thought to your Holiday plans. It’s a very hard decision for all of us, but we all need to be responsible for the common good now. The stakes are high, and the damage too important. None of us can afford to make our loved ones sick or get sick ourselves. It’s grown up time for all of us to make the hard decisions so we can end the pandemic soon. Our family hasn’t been united in ten months, and we are a very close knit family.

 

Families around the world are facing the same decision. None of us want to get sick or make others sick. If that helps us get to better numbers sooner and saves lives, it’s worth it. I hope we are all thinking of how we can make this challenging situation better. It’s not an easy choice, but it may be the sacrifice we have to make this year. Please be safe during the holidays, and consider your holiday plans. It’s a tough decision we all have to face.

 

Be careful, be safe, and take care, and have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

11/30/20, Countdown Weeks Before the Holidays

Posted on November 30, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week, and a heartwarming Thanksgiving, as close to ‘normal’ as you could get it, or maybe a very different one that surprised you and suited you better. Sometimes when we least expect it and dread a change, the new version of something turns out better than the old one. Thanksgiving was definitely different this year. Trying to comply with the Covid rules and recommendations, our whole family didn’t fly home to home base/the mother ship this year, and each little group stayed in the cities where they are and celebrated in small groups of 2s and 3s. Some stuck firmly with the traditions of how we celebrate the holiday, what we do and eat—others made it more free form, with a different menu and style. We had two family face times, one of which allowed me to say grace to start the Thanksgiving meal, which really touched me and warmed my heart. We’re all doing the best we can in the pandemic.  Others, I know, traveled despite the suggestions not to, and I’m hoping that their doing so won’t shoot the numbers of Covid cases way up again. Let’s hope not, so we can get the current situation in control.

 

There seem to be a wide variety and degree of restrictions happening in various countries, states and cities, which are trying to bridge safety and health necessities, with helping the economy, and not shutting down commerce completely, and leaving stores open for Christmas. Trying to respect and salvage the holidays makes it even more challenging. In Europe and some US cities, the closure of restaurants and bars is a hard blow to restaurant owners, but restaurants and bars seem to be among the more dangerous locations, with people having their masks off to eat and drink, at close range in enclosed spaces. Individuals as well as governments are groping in the dark to try and figure out what’s safe and what isn’t. We’re all doing the best we can.

 

In another vein completely, I have a new book out for the holidays, “All That Glitters”, which I hope will distract people and provide a welcome escape from our challenges of the moment. I always try to bring out an uplifting book for the holidays, which makes a good gift. And my little quotation book “Expect a Miracle” is a gift straight from my heart, with all the quotes I love most.

 

We’re starting to decorate the house for Christmas, and trying to figure out how to celebrate it safely, and still honor the season.

 

One of my favorite Bible passages comes to mind especially this year. “God places the solitary in families.” I’ve always loved that, and the idea that even if you aren’t with your traditional family for the holidays, some other solution will happen that meets the need of those who are alone.

 

My thoughts are with you in this month before the holidays, that you will find a way to make the season bright for yourself and others. Even dark times can’t dim the light in our hearts, and the light of Hope, so essential to us all. One of the hardest things we’re all dealing with is uncertainty and how hard it is to make plans. Things seem to change constantly, but hopefully the changes are leading us to a good place and out of the darkness. Together, we will meet the challenge of these unusual times.

 

All my love to you now and in the coming weeks. We will win in the end!!!  I bought some silly Santas and put them on my kitchen table, a snow globe, and two music boxes that play Christmas carols, and the kitchen looks happy now. Corny always works for me!!!  I’m putting the last touches on my list of Christmas gifts, still a few left, even though I start in August. I think we can suspend Santa’s naughty and nice list this year, and assume we’ve all been Nice and deserve a reward of some kind. I send you lots of warm thoughts and virtual hugs in these countdown weeks before the holidays.

 

Stay safe!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

10/5/20, A little of This and a little of That!

Posted on October 6, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, even a great one with some lucky breaks.

 

It’s gotten chilly in Paris, and the Covid numbers have gone up in Paris, and all over Europe. I personally think it’s still the fallout of the people who were cavalier about safety measures this summer, and hung out on beaches, too close together, in bars WAY too close together and without masks. And it got us headed in the wrong direction again.  We can’t afford to be careless, and ignore the safety measures. I like eating outdoors, and haven’t eaten indoors yet at a restaurant. But as the weather gets colder, it’s too chilly to sit outside, or it will be soon.

 

They announced new health measures today: they are closing the bars for 2 weeks so people can’t congregate, and restaurants are under scrutiny to decide if they are safe enough and need to close too. It’s definitely a hard time for small businesses. And the tourist industry has suffered the most.

 

My answer to the problem is simple, when the numbers are high, I stay home and write. I get a lot of work done that way, and it keeps me out of dicey situations, like being around people who don’t wear masks.

 

I haven’t done anything interesting lately, I’ve been working on a book, several in fact, as I usually do.  Halloween is coming up, and it brings back such happy memories of my kids.

 

I was supposed to go to the Chanel fashion show tomorrow, with 200 spectators, and I LOVE those shows, but I just didn’t dare take a chance. It just didn’t seem Worth the risk.

 

 

So it’s been a quiet week, more writing in store. Have a GREAT week!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

9/28/20, Four Seasons

Posted on September 28, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

How are you holding up? Whether locked down in the state or country where people live, I’m beginning to hear people’s wings drooping a little. I don’t think any of us expected the pandemic to go on for this long, or what it would feel like. From friends and family in New York, I’m hearing that it’s “okay, but weird” and not the New York they know. Some places where life seems almost normal with restaurants doing a booming business, and other areas where the city seems dead and the streets are deserted. Big companies haven’t opened their offices yet, like Random House my publisher, their office buildings are deserted, smaller companies (like my agent) are starting to open and people are returning to work, which is encouraging. I think the two things that make people feel ‘normal’ again are being able to go back to work in their familiar surroundings and function more normally, and being able to see people socially again. One thing I have learned from this whole experience is how much people need to see and be with other people in order to feel happy and well balanced. Those who have been isolated, especially for extensive periods of time, like San Francisco which remains still heavily confined (with toxic air quality from the recent fires), people sound morbidly depressed when I talk to them. You can only isolate people for so long, and then other/psychological issues begin to take hold, which seem almost as damaging as the virus. Long term isolation (7 months now in San Francisco) and deprivation ultimately seems to cause depression, understandably, and other problems. The numbers (of sick, deaths, etc.)are impressively low in San Francisco, but at what price glory, if the entire population is depressed from being deprived and isolated. I haven’t spoken to a single person there whose spirits weren’t at the bottom of the barrel. It’s sad to hear, and favoring the numbers and statistics at the price of the population’s morale and emotional wellbeing seems a high price to pay for those statistics. People speak only of how shut down the city is, stores boarded up, business not getting back on its feet, and the homeless roaming everywhere, looking as depressed as those who have been confined at home for too long. And things aren’t back to normal in LA either, according to friends and relatives there. Normalcy is hard to achieve anywhere these days, around the world.

 

In Europe, ever since the abandon of those who went on vacation all over Europe this summer, crowded together on the beaches, didn’t wear masks, spent their nights in bars and illegally opened discos, have caused the numbers to soar, in France, Spain, the numbers are up in England, Germany, Austria. Some countries are starting to confine certain areas, and the general population is beginning to worry that there will be a general lockdown confinement again. Moderate measures are being re-instated, with the threat of worse to come if people don’t get serious again and the numbers don’t come down. In France, and probably the rest of Europe, the young (from adolescents to 25) steadfastly refuse to wear masks and social distance, and are putting themselves and everyone else at risk, and refuse to listen to the warnings. It’s frustrating to see them in big groups on the streets, hugging and kissing, laughing with their arms around each other, and not a mask in sight. No one seems to be able to get them to listen, to their parents, or the government, in any country, while the numbers continue to rise daily.

 

The uncertainties of the situation are giving everyone anxiety. About jobs, their health, their families, the economy. It’s hard to guess where the safest place is to be now, with ups and downs, and how to get there. I miss my kids fiercely. Restrictions are being put on the European borders again, with quarantines being enforced, and there is no sign at all of the US borders opening, or any reciprocity of open borders between the US and other countries. Americans are still barred from travelling to other countries, except for Croatia, Brazil, and some African countries. We just have to hang in until things return to normal again, or start to get better.

 

In France, summer stopped abruptly and turned to instant winter, with chilly days, cold nights, and weeks of gloomy rainy weather. It suddenly made me realize that this is now my Fourth season in the midst of Covid. It began last winter, we deconfined in Spring, went through a hot summer (with too much self-indulgence in France, we are paying the price for now), and now here it is Autumn, our fourth season of Covid. I just celebrated the my fourth child’s birthday on Face time, virtually, when I had never missed a single one of their birthdays before, with another one due in the next few weeks, and I celebrated my own birthday on Face Time with them this summer. I can’t wait to celebrate birthdays again for real with hugs and kisses, opening gifts and blowing out the candles together. That will be a happy day.

 

Let’s hope that things start to improve again soon, without any more spikes in the numbers, despite gloomy predictions I hope won’t prove to be true. We deserve some good news. And let’s hope that people stay serious about this, so the numbers come down, and we have something to celebrate!!

 

In the meantime, Fall is here, which is usually an invigorating time of year. We just have to stick with it. I just started a new book, and I’m sending love and prayers to all of you. I’ve run out of Mickey Mouse masks, and am now wearing pink ones with Pandas on them. And after that, I have pale blue ones, with little dogs on them.  Let’s hope things improve radically before I have to wear the ones with the multi colored dinosaurs on them. Have a great week, wherever you are, we’re in this together and we will make it through, hopefully before the start of another season, or we miss too many more birthdays and events of our loved ones. I missed a major family event last week, which was an all-time low for me. Onward, and Upward!!! Hang in!!!

 

So much love to you,   Danielle

 

 

8/3/20, WTF??

Posted on August 3, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

How’s it going? If you’re in the US, the Covid 19 numbers have been very scary. (I watch them carefully every day, reporting on all the countries around the world, and the countries and cities where I have loved ones) Hopefully, it has hit its peak in the US, and things will start to improve now. I sure hope so!!! I’ve given up trying to make plans and am just waiting it out. I hope that by now everyone is wearing a mask!!! In France last week, they recommended that everyone wear one outdoors too. The image of Ernie from Sesame Street kind of sums up how I feel sometimes, and a lot of us do. WHAT happened? How did this bomb hit us so fast!!! The image of Ernie made me smile—it certainly says it all!!!

 

In France, everyone has gone somewhere on vacation, to the South of France, Provence, Italy or Spain. People are moving around, so hopefully that won’t raise the Covid numbers again. Europe is really doing well for the most part, except for some surges in Spain. No one wants to get confined again, so hopefully they’re following the rules wherever they are!! Or we’ll all pay the price for it in a few weeks. I hope not!!

 

Summer vacations are a law in France, and a habit that’s hard to break. By law, people get a 5 week vacation, usually in July and August, and most people seem to prefer August. (Whereas in the US, people spread their vacations out all year, which is better for business).So in France the whole country migrates to somewhere, mostly in August.  I have to admit, it makes me wonder this year. It always brings business in France to a total halt in August. Everything is closed (stores, restaurants, offices), businesses don’t function. Some businesses leave one person to answer phones, but most dont even do that. The whole country hangs out a sign “Gone Fishing”. But this year in particular, with the economy hard hit, most businesses were closed for confinement in March, April, and half of May—-and now, they are all on vacation, for another month or two. And since business is slow right now, with no foreign tourists to support many industries, a lot of people left a couple of weeks early, and they plan to take every moment of their annual vacation, so from July 15 till September 1st this year, the country is shut down. That can’t be good for business, and is bound to hurt the economy. France is full of charm, and the quality of life is wonderful, which makes it so appealing to be here, but maybe this year, vacations should have been shorter no longer??!!! The streets of Paris are empty, especially without tourists, and business is at a standstill.

 

One thing I am really impressed by—–EVERYWHERE!!! How creative and enterprising people have been in the pandemic, and in confinement. I’ve seen fantastic art projects, one of my kids has been making 3D puzzles, my youngest daughter just started a tie-dyed shirt business in confinement in California, and the shirts are gorgeous!!! (See my Instagram). Another daughter had never gardened before, and planted a vegetable garden—the vegetables are fantastic and look like works of art, one of my sons planted a really beautiful herb garden, one son in law has a passion and a talent for cooking, he’s been taking lessons in the pandemic, and the photographs of the food he’s making are gorgeous and look delicious. People are discovering new talents, and discovering new pleasures while trying to stay calm, be patient, and soothe their jangled nerves. I’ve been working on five different books, as I often do, I haven’t stopped writing since the pandemic started. It helps me stay busy, and fills the days while I wait to see my kids again, and keeps business as usual for my publishers and readers, and myself. Friends have become more precious, and out of confinement now, seeing them means more than ever. Other friends who have worked hard and missed time with their kids have gotten to know their kids better than ever before, confined with them, and enjoying special times that might never have happened otherwise. Time has stopped. We have had to reboot our lives, and start again. We have had to learn patience, how to fill our time creatively, develop new ways to work, deepen our relationships, question ourselves about what matters most to us. We have had to face disappointments and loss. One of my daughters has had the huge disappointment of postponing her long awaited wedding twice, a smaller family version several times, and will now have to wait for the big originally planned wedding till next year—-all of which has been very trying. It is as though a big hand clamped down on the world’s clock, and said “Stop!!!” And there are even greater concerns, about our own health, the health and safety of our loved ones, and in some cases the loss of loved ones. But even for families and people who have not suffered the loss of relatives or friends, the changes have been enormous, and the concerns many. How to keep our children safe, worries about finances and jobs. Everyone has been affected, no one’s life is unchanged or untouched. It makes us grateful for the good things, the good times, the good people in our lives, and more aware of what is most precious to us. Some friends have been disappointing, others have been amazing. Some marriages have ended, the cracks in them more obvious in the crisis, and in those cases where a dead relationship has dragged on, maybe best for it to finally end and get a fresh start in life. Other relationships have started or grown deeper. People have fallen in love, maybe faster than they would have otherwise, like in wartime, everything is magnified, the good and the bad. Babies have been conceived. Good things have happened, not just bad. It reminds me of the French saying, “Un mal pour un bien”, good things that result from a bad thing.

 

I think we’re all learning lessons that some of us needed. Maybe there was no other way to learn those lessons except for time to stop, and it has. Like a movie on pause, suddenly everything stops….and eventually, the film will continue, the players will move again, the story will conclude. We can’t fast forward this film. It’s real life, but once life starts rolling again, I think we will each take away lessons that we needed and can use, and memories that will be precious to us. And hats off to those who are making the best of it. We’re all doing the best we can. And at times, it is definitely a “WTF” experience, of how did THIS happen. But we’re living, we’re learning, and I hope and believe that some good things will come of it in the end!!! It is a great deal like a war, with all the extremes that go with it, and the camaraderie of sharing it, and protecting those we love. And we’ll have a LOT to tell our grandchildren one day!!!

 

Have a GREAT week!!! I think that’s possible, even during these challenging times!!!

 

 

love, Danielle

 

7/13/20, Half Empty, Half Full

Posted on July 13, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope all is going well for you, that you’re in a safe place, and respecting the rules that have become our norm, in an attempt to stay safe: sheltering in place where advised, social distancing, and masks when told to wear them, and washing our sanitizing our hands constantly. It all makes sense. And the successful results in Europe show clearly that confinement works to bring the numbers down to a safer situation where deconfinement can become possible, and social distancing makes sense, with hand sanitizing, and wearing masks no matter what your political allegiance. It’s all about health and safety now, not getting sick, nor making others sick, and following the rules to that end.

 

Any other year, last week, I would have been telling you about the Haute Couture fashion shows, with all the glitz and glamour, pretty models on the runway wearing gorgeous clothes, against an exciting backdrop. And this week, I’d have been telling you that I was having fun with my kids for our annual vacation in the South of France. And next week, I would have been telling you about the fireworks on the 14th of July, we would have been swimming in the sea, lying in the cabana in the daytime, getting a tan, and enjoying family dinners at night. The good life, in a world we took for granted until recently.

 

Before that, I would have told you about our family Easter brunch, with pastel colored bunnies all over the table. I would have told you how much I love Mother’s Day, and how sweet my children are to me, and how they spoil me. Instead in the pandemic, I am 3 to 6,000 miles from my children, and for the first time in my life, I spent Easter and Mother’s Day alone, and was grateful for a Face Time visit, and they even managed to spoil me long distance on Mother’s Day. They are amazing!!! I missed my daughter’s birthday in LA though in April, and a fun weekend we have every year to celebrate it, and she has had to postpone her wedding twice, a huge sorrow for her. But at least they are all alive, and no one is sick, which is the most important. And I missed the 4th of July too, although way less important to me than weddings, birthdays, and mother’s day.

 

The Big Thrill in my life, and it was a very big thrill was that the day after American Mother’s Day (it was a month later here in France), The De-Confinement began in Paris (after two solid months at home, and I stayed locked down for 3 months, for good measure), stores opened, hairdressers re-appeared, we could leave our homes, and see people, and shortly after, outdoor terraces were opened and you could eat outdoors in a restaurant. And progressively since then, all restaurants are now open indoors and out, offices, all stores, you can walk down the street, or have a friend come to visit, or visit them, with masks and social distancing, and people are good about the rules here. As a result, the number of sick and deaths have not gone up, and remain low. The state of emergency officially ended in France 3 days ago, although we still have to follow the safety rules until September, and perhaps longer. Paris is looking beautiful, and you can travel between European countries now, and between cities. People are going on vacation (I’m not, without my kids. I would be too sad without sharing it with them). And I am so grateful for every moment of health and freedom, after being stuck in my apartment for 3 months. So the glass can very definitely be seen as half full—not fully back to normal yet, because the virus is still lurking everywhere, but we seem to be living with it pretty successfully in Europe.

 

But the hardest part of all this for me is not being with my kids, all of whom are in the States. I miss them fiercely, and am so sad without them, but the situation in the US gets worse every day. I check the numbers every morning and want to cry. The carefree attitude in many parts of the US with no confinement, people not following the rules, no masks, or social distancing, crowding the beaches in Florida and Southern California, and many states not following any rules—–has come crashing down on the US. The most number of sick and dead in the world, the greatest danger, the graphs going up every day. It is dangerous to go there and to be there, and for me personally, the greatest hardship is not being with my kids. Flying back to the US is dangerous, with airports, and being confined in an airplane for many hours, exposed to people who might be coming from anywhere in the world, and could have the virus and not know it. Being in the US is dangerous now, more so than in Europe. So I am still in Europe, where I am safer, but when will I be able to go home, and when will I be able to see my kids and get my arms around them for an enormous hug? Thank God, they are safe, but the country is blazing with the virus. With no end in sight. Europe and Asia have proven that confinement works. Strict confinement, total lockdown for 2 months brings the numbers down to something safe, but most of the US is not confined and doesn’t want to be, so the numbers continue to rise. Many people are following the rules seriously, but so many others aren’t. (Particularly young people, who are a problem in Europe too, and think the rules are dumb and don’t apply to them. But young people get sick too!!) People fight against wearing masks (it’s such a small sacrifice to make for one’s own health and that of others), and social distance is forgotten on beaches and in bars, especially now in warmer weather. Every day, I pray that the numbers in the US will go down, that it will turn around, but for having been cavalier in many places in the US for several months, they are paying a high price now, with so many people sick and dying. And European countries will not allow Americans to enter, because the official numbers are so high.

 

For me, personally and selfishly, it all boils down to when will I see my kids, and when can I go home. The glass looks very empty to me from that perspective. And on the half-full side, life is easy and pleasant in Paris now, I can get my hair done, go shopping (cautiously, with mask and distancing), have lunch with a friend, or walk down the street on a sunny day.  But my kids can’t come to see me, because they are not allowed to enter the country, because of the extremely high numbers in the US—-which is also very hard on the world economy, keeping Americans out of other countries, and foreigners out of the US. We need their business, and they need ours, but the US just isn’t safe right now. At least not yet. And I really hope that changes SOON!!! It depends on each person following the rules to make it safe.

 

I pray about it every day, and maybe you do too. I so much want things to get better in the US, for everyone’s sake, not just for me and my kids. We are going to have to tighten all our rules, deprive ourselves of fun for a while, even wear masks, or do whatever we have to do to make our world safe again. This will end, it won’t last forever, but it will get better a lot faster if we ALL follow the rules, in every country, every city, every town around the world.

 

My prayers are with all of you, that you are safe and healthy. The glass IS half full now in many places, with many freedoms and privileges returned. Even more than half full in some places. San Francisco has done very well in the pandemic, with only fifty deaths, way fewer than other places, but they are still very strictly confined and restricted after 4 months, with no end in sight.  New York has done an amazing job getting the numbers down, and even closed their borders to do so, trying to keep people out from areas that are more severely affected, and demanding that anyone from out of state quarantine for 2 weeks when they arrive. It is severe, but it has helped.

 

Whatever it takes, I hope we get those numbers down all over the US, and make it safe again for everyone, visitors as well as Americans. It reminds me now of the vicious fires that burned all over California, out of control a year or two ago. Eventually, the fires were brought under control. The virus will be too. I’m tired of reading the numbers in the US every morning with a sinking heart and tears in my eyes. I want to see my kids, and I want all of you to be safe, and anxiety-free too. We just have to keep at it, one day at a time, following the rules, until the glass is really full, overflowing with blessings, not half full. I know that day will come. And in the meantime, I am hanging on to hope that it will get better soon.

 

 

Have a GREAT week, a safe, smart, careful, healthy one!!!!

 

 

with all my love, Danielle

 

6/22/20, Happy Father’s Day, Mom!!!

Posted on June 22, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that you had a peaceful week, and that life is returning closer to normal in your community. There is a wide divergence between cities and areas around the world, as to how confined they are, or aren’t, how many things are open in their cities (stores, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, nail salons, etc.). Some places never confined at all, and some are still under very tight lock down, and some cities seem almost normal. A friend currently visiting Denmark reported that everything appears to be up and running normally. With some compromises and adjustments, Paris is very functional too, we have indoor and outdoor restaurants, hairdressers, all stores, we can visit friends, walk down the street freely. Masks are strongly recommended, and social distancing, but masks are up to the individual and not always required but are a nice courtesy and safeguard of everyone’s health, and social distancing on streets and in restaurants and in tight indoor spaces makes sense. I love how normal the city/ Paris appears now, and the festive atmosphere in outdoor restaurants, where open air dining terraces are part of the Parisian way of life. Hairdressers re-entered our lives as soon as deconfinement began—–all of which brings us closer to normal, and feels very civilized. And hand sanitizer and washing hands is a must. Paris began deconfining 6 weeks ago, and has made life livable and even fun again. And I know some cities and states in the US didn’t confine at all, and others are still under very strict lockdown, and have a very long drawn out deconfinement program. Every country, and in the US every state and city, seems to view it differently, which is very confusing!!

 

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and I was very touched when one of my children, my youngest son, called to wish me a Happy Father’s Day, and a friend did the same by email, and it really made me think about all the women and Moms I know who do double duty, and stand in for absentee, deceased, divorced or non-existent or non-attentive fathers. More and more women have opted to have children on their own, without a partner, in recent decades. And others have wound up in that situation due to unexpected circumstances, and some men are just less attentive to their kids than others, and as women, if we have children, we work hard at our jobs, and try to be hands on attentive mothers too, and cover all the bases. Once divorced, with still very young kids, I became a single Mom to my 9 kids, and when my husband then passed away, I was even more so. I tried to teach my oldest daughter how to play baseball and ride a bike (with very little skill or experience at either one!!), went to all of my sons’ sports games (baseball, lacrosse and soccer) and cub scout meetings, went to every ballet class with all 5 daughters, helped with homework, wound up in the emergency room at midnight alone for bumped heads and sprained ankles, was the family chauffeur, listened to my daughters’ boyfriend problems growing up, and tried to give my sons gentle advice on what girls prefer and how they want to be treated. I felt at a tremendous disadvantage with my sons, because I’m a woman and couldn’t give them fatherly advice. Fathers have a way of seeing things more practically, often more simply, with fewer frills and nuances, I think as women we see kids’ issues more in three dimensions and multi layers, men don’t complicate things as much with emotional issues, on the other hand we, as women, can offer great comfort in many situations that men aren’t always as good at. And no one kisses a boo boo better or applies a Ninja Turtle or Minnie Mouse band aid better!!!  I couldn’t help thinking yesterday of the many many MANY women who are both mother and father to their children, and do a damn good job of it. It’s usually an advantage to have two parents. I grew up in the reverse situation, alone with my father all my life, and got NO advice about makeup, hair and high heels, but I know a lot more about cars than most women. And I still wear very little make up, I could never quite get that right, and my father was no help on that subject whatsoever!!!

 

So I’d like to offer my belated Father’s Day wishes to all the women doing 3 jobs: as mother, father, and in their jobs and careers. When we have to be both mother and father, we try harder, and even though we worry about it, and may be unsure, a lot of the time we get it very right!!! So Bravo to all the Moms playing a double role with their kids, I salute them for all their hard work, and the endless, tireless hours that they spend being not only great mothers, but very good fathers too. Hats off, Moms, and Happy Father’s Day, if you’re a double Mom too!!! Have a terrific week, and remember to stay safe, the pandemic isn’t over yet, but we’re getting there!!!

 

love, Danielle