It has been over a month since we left for France, and I’m only just now getting around to writing about our trip. There were so many emotions connected with this journey: excitement (hello, it’s PARIS!), anxiety (meeting Mike’s dad for the very first time), dread (flying with a toddler)… and each of those was not without a solid case behind it. When we arrived, we had pretty much pulled an all-nighter with the wiggliest, loudest 23-month-old on our laps, so you could say we were tired. I felt a new burst of energy seeing Mike’s dad at the exit of the airport, though– finally, those eight years of wondering and anticipation could end and I met the man who Mike calls “Papa.”
Despite how much Mike looks like his mom, I was surprised to notice some real similarities in his dad’s appearance, too. Plus, they both LOVE books. It was really sweet to see Djamar show off his books to Mike, talking about this one and that, giving him a few copies along the way. (They both strike me as “Johnny Appleseeds” of literature!)
After getting some rest on that first day, we went full speed ahead in our exploration of Paris. My one request was to see the Eiffel Tower– how can you go to Paris without a visit to the Eiffel Tower??– and we managed to fill our first day with that plus the Louvre (just visiting the outside), Notre Dame cathedral, and l’Arc de Triomphe… walking all the way. Shew! We even saw an incredible street performer on the Champs-Elysees. So fun!
We made it up to Montmartre the next day, and wow, was it beautiful! The Sacre-Coeur was gorgeous, too. Walking around town, I still couldn’t get over all the beautiful flowers!
After three whirlwind days in Paris, it was time to take the train to Strasbourg to see Kathy, Mike’s godmother. She was there when he was born, and has never stopped caring for Mike (and now, our whole family). He hadn’t seen her or her mom since he was a teenager, and they were the dear hosts of many fun visits and Christmases for him. I can’t even say how special it was to finally meet this lovely woman. It was amazing just visiting Alsace, too– what a gorgeous place! There were flowers EVERYWHERE, and it was a fantastic 65-70 degrees every day. We even got to climb on top of the Strasbourg Cathedral and visit Haut-Koenigsbourg, a real-life castle!!
We visited Kathy’s mother, Alice, who has been like a grandmother to Mike. She has a huge garden in her backyard, complete with cherry trees! Noah was all about the cherries, which made for some on-the-go cherry pitting for us. It was totally worth it, though, to see his adorable, juicy face!
Without question, this was a trip that we will never forget. Despite some of the tough spots, it was definitely a high point for our family, and I am so thankful we could take this journey together.