PARENTING

Walking in the face of danger

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I am shocked that, for the second time this year, I am sitting in front of my computer to write a post about a violent tragedy that has hit my beloved city right in the heart. Our home is, for the second time in 10 months, right next to the site of inhumane violence. We were very lucky this time as the girls and I were sitting in a plane flying to Dublin for a weekend with friends and family. But we are back now and the air is still thick with the horror of Friday’s events.

The main reason the atmosphere is so different than during the attacks on Charlie Hebdo is that this time we, here in Paris, feel like we have been targeted for being us and for living our normal lives, so the fear is palpable.  We love sitting on lively terraces, enjoying an apero and laughing. We love live music and eating in restaurants. We love talking, arguing, drinking and celebrating life and our city. This is what the terrorists so callously honed in on and they hit us right in the heart of our being.

We have all done a lot of soul searching this weekend and the impulse to flee or lock ourselves and our family into our houses is overwhelming, but we cannot do it as that would let the terror win.

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I remember seeing the above photo a long time ago and it has always stuck with me. A  beautiful, made up woman in Sarajevo walking through a dangerous, sniper haunted neighbourhood passed armed guards, refusing to cower in the face of danger. I am not comparing Paris to the Sarajevo of that time, but I love her spirit and I believe Parisians will do the same thing. We will continue sitting at the tables of our beloved cafés, we will continue populating our streets and taking advantage of the beauty of our city. Because a couple of cruel individuals will not scare the inhabitants of this city and threaten that lifestyle and the liberty we hold so dear.

I want to ensure that my children do not live in fear and are not afraid of walking our neighbourhood streets, and the only way I can do this is by leading by example. Hopefully I can pass this message on to them.

Emilie

Top image was created by @jean_jullien on Instagram. 


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Comments (29)

Esther in Amsterdam
November 17, 2015

Thank you for writing this post, it made me cry. Love you xxxxxx


Miranda
November 17, 2015

Lovely & important words x


Mary
November 17, 2015

Gosh, what an image. I love it. She looks so self assured. Yes, life must go on and love always wins out. It’s easier said than done right now because you’re all in shock which is natural. I was working in London at the time of the bombs and was honoured to see what troopers the Brits were when it came to dealing with the situation. People pulled together and got up and on with their lives. It really impressed me. You Parisians are borne of liberté, égalité and fraternité. Breathe it in, put one foot in front of the other and know how much love and support there is the world for you all.


Sara.
November 17, 2015

How beautifully written <3 a lot of courage for all you beautiful Parisians, don't lose your spirit x


Mojca
November 17, 2015

<3


SHOW ALL COMMENTS
Victoria
November 17, 2015

So well said Emilie! x


November 17, 2015

How true. What a fantastic image.
I cannot imagine how fearful you are for your family right now, I wish you strength in overcoming that fear and getting back to enjoying beautiful Paris.
My daughter was born on 7.7.05 – her arrival prevented my husband getting on trains and tubes that would have almost certainly meant he would have been involved in the terrible bombs that day. There are no more words than you have written, beautifully put, my very best wishes, Kate Austin


Katrina Campbell
November 17, 2015

Emilie

I have been meaning to write. I don’t know you personally but following the Babycinno blog, I sometimes feel like I do! Thank you so much for posting such a positive message in the face of such horror. Very glad to hear your family are well, though I’m sure the impact of what has happened will have long lasting effects. Your children will follow your lead and take great inspiration from you, I’m sure of it.

Love
Katrina xx


Nina
November 17, 2015

This post was so unvarnished, so piercing. I feel for you, for your girls, for Paris. Love, Nina


November 17, 2015

Great post! These are worrying times! After so many years living in terror in Spain because of ETA terrorists, we thought we were safe again, but, unfortunately, it’s not the case. Take care and enjoy life! Best regards from Barcelona,
Marta


Minou
November 17, 2015

Dear Emily,
thank you for your words. Angst war und ist ein schlechter Ratgeber, das zeigt unsere Geschichte.
Minou


Emilie in Paris
November 17, 2015

Du hast absolut recht. Aber leider vergessen wir sehr schnell!


jemima
November 17, 2015

This post is so beautiful! It made me cry, too. We love your spirit, your determination, and your courage. We are with you every step of the way.


November 17, 2015

Emilie, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m so sorry this happened and you have to be afraid again. I can’t imagine fearing to send my child to school or to being afraid to go to a neighborhood bar. We’re thinking of you and praying for the safety of all innocents, no matter where they are from.


Alicia
November 17, 2015

14 years ago I had to evacuate my office in midtown and walk 40 blocks north to my then apartment; my now-husband had just flown over to join me from Holland. We now live four blocks from World Trade. To say that the surrounding neighborhood has rebounded is an understatement; it is vibrant and full of families. And yet, this weekend, I was worried about driving through the Holland Tunnel with my young kids for fear something would happen again. And yet we drove. And I took the subway to work the next day. We do have to model resilience, for our kids as much as for ourselves and our neighbors. And then the act of being resilient becomes who we really are.


Sam
November 17, 2015

Emilie, we continue to believe that love is stronger than hate and we will not allow acts of terrorism change our fundamental beliefs, culture, habits and life styles.

But how do we have discussions about what is going on in our works with our children? How do we convey these events without fear? How do we educate our children to understand religious differences and tolerance?

I’d be really interested to hear other people’s stories of how they have shared thes, and sadly other world events with their old enough to understand children.
To my nearly 8 year old I explained that a group of bad men had hurt people in Paris, and that very sadly people had died. He wanted to know if all the bad people had been caught. I said I thought so, but the Police would be making sure. He asked why the bad people had done what they’d done, and that’s when I got stuck, I don’t have the right words to explain it.


Emilie in Paris
November 17, 2015

I have been telling my kids that the motivation of these people is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear people who are different, who live their life differently and fear of what they believe is a threat to their culture. It is also the fear of not being accepted and feeling rejected.
I have also tried to explain the idea that fear can lead to people becoming extremists and fanatics to kids, the idea that people get so crazy about their own ideas that they want to impose them with violence on others, disregarding their own life and the life of others. Also I have tried to explain that for 8 extremists that caused the tragedy in Paris, several thousands have stood up together peacefully to show that they do not believe in violence. I hope that at least some of this has stuck in their minds and made them feel more peaceful.


Steph
November 17, 2015

Peace.


November 17, 2015

Emilie – tears in my eyes as I write this. First off – so so glad you are safe! And second, thank you for your words of courage. Hugs!


Bethanne
November 17, 2015

Inspiring words. I have been hoping you guys might address what has happened. So very sorry it was in your own city. Thinking of you and wishing you well as you raise your children to live beautifully instead of fearfully! I will be here in America doing the same:)


Rosie
November 17, 2015

Merci pour cette vision des choses pleine de courage! Bien sûr il faut tous nous serrer les coudes dans ces moments difficiles, et que chacun se sente porté par le désir de tous de vivre en bonne harmonie, en liberté, égalité, fraternité… Et super photo, elle a du cran cette femme! Bonne continuation dans la ville lumière, qui ne s’éteindra pas ! And thank you to all around the world who share messages of support and kindness!


November 17, 2015

It’s a beautiful and powerful image, Emilie and close to my heart! Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensemble! Love


Jessica in Milan
November 17, 2015

Thank you for this post Emilie! I don’t know you personally but I can feel the strenght and the power of your words. I am still shocked and saddened by the horrible attacks in Paris and the innocent people who went out to meet friends, relax, listen to music, enjoy life and finished in a war zone.
But Parisians are special and strong and they have already shown us how resilient they are.
I’m thinking of those who exit the stade de France singing La Marseillaise, street musicians in front of the Bataclan playing We shall overcome, those selling fruits and vegetables who despite the recommendations of the Police opened their markets stall the day after, the municipal employees who spent the day off to clean the blood on the sidewalks, taxi drivers driving people home free of charge and those many who opened their front doors to strangers to keep them safe during the attacks…..
Thank you Emilie and thank you France for standing still in such adverse times (fluctuat nec mergitur).
My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with you


Jen
November 18, 2015

I am thinking of you all so much, and hope in time you will all feel safe again soon. Thank you for writing this.


Lisa
November 18, 2015

beautifully written and could not agree more. sending love from USA. x


Susan M.
November 19, 2015

Poignant thoughts. Especially about modeling resilience for our children and showing how to handle fear. Thank you so much and sending you and your children strength and healing thoughts.


Emilie in Paris
November 19, 2015

I wanted to thank all of you for your lovely thoughts and love. Heartwarming! xxx


November 19, 2015

Thank you for Post! It was so good to hear the voice of another mother in Paris !
Its very hard to be a mother in those days. Of course we all want to show no fear and if I wouldn’t had kids I would go out keep on going with my life. But looking at my beautiful kids my heart is very heavy and I want to protect them as much as I can? What do you do to protect them in Paris ?
Many Greetings Katja


Michelle Lewis
July 13, 2018

To you question about what we should write: I would love to hear about different Mom’s experiences from around the world. Mom’s who work and those who don’t. Mom’s who are CEO’s and mom’s who are teachers. We can all learn from each other and help each other. I’d love to hear about some of their routines. Maybe there’s an article on the different morning routines in three different countries; another one on different breakfast served; another one on what to do on a non-school day; another one on what to pack in school lunches (or perhaps they don’t take one because of the norm in the country); different after-school routines; favorite past-times with the kids based on different ages; different night time routines, etc. Essentially each one would be about a few different perspectives on the same topic.

I hope this is helpful.


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