We're leaving France on August 5th and that date suddenly seems too close, too fast. I remember hitting that point during each pregnancy, when giving birth went from an impossibly far-off event to a looming reality. My to-do list still has plenty of items to check off: build a hatch for the attic, put up bars in the attic window so people can't fall out of it, install flooring in the attic, paint & install baseboards, sew curtains for Ivy's room. That list seems modest compared to what we've done already.
I've started sorting items in to bags mentally labeled keep in France, give away, and bring back home. I sold a few bags of Ivy's clothes at a consignment store around the corner called Falabrik Fabrik. The walls and ceiling are painted in bright, mis-matching colors. Racks of secondhand clothes form the periphery, inside which you can sit at one of small tables and eat a homemade lunch, or your child can sort through a trunk filled with painted wooden toys and board books. I gave away another bag of clothes to a young Muslim mother, tossing them into the passenger seat as she drove by the tram station. I still have two more bags of clothes and a bag of cloth diapers to sell or give away.
I'm leaving our umbrella stroller behind. I won it at a Lamaze conference back when Dio was little. Its wheels are starting to buckle from carting 3 children and ferrying bags overloaded with groceries. We also won't need our hiking backpack any more; Ivy either rides in the Ergo or walks.
I'm bringing home yards of fabric: heavy absinthe jacquard for curtains in Inga's room. Linen gauze to soften the south-facing French doors in our living room. More bright prints and bold weaves for decorative cushions.
I'm leaving behind most of my summer sandals. They were secondhand to begin with, and they are so worn that I want to save my precious luggage quota for something else. I'm bringing home lots of "new" clothes, all secondhand and some even snatched from our garbage station where residents have created an ad-hoc Freecycle corner.
Eric has a pile of new books that will cross the Atlantic this August: biographies of Anaïs Nin and Isadora Duncan, fictionalized accounts of Hemingway's wives, memoirs of bumbling English people moving to France to escape harried city life and living like kings isolated in their country manors. More novels and short story collections.
I'll miss my quiet afternoons with Ivy while the kids are at school.
Also all the fish that Eric catches with his spear gun