As I’ve written about in the past, I spent all my childhood vacations at my grandparents house in Bordeaux, France. It was the family home and I was very lucky to experience the whole extended family dynamic. I learned a lot patience and all about sharing growing up being a part of a larger household. It was wonderful. My sister and I were the little ones from far away America and we were the progeny of my grandparents baby girl, my mother, our visits were always highly anticipated. We were so blessed, my sister and I.
Since I spent at least 3 months overseas every year, the odds of me are not getting sick would have been crazy. I have to admit that after the first time of being ill in France, it seemed that I saved all my illnesses to develop in France because I found out, shockingly enough, that you don’t get stuck with needles when you’re sick. That is a huge deal when you are a child. Even better, whenever I or anyone else in the family were ill, my aunt would telephone Docteur Duporter and he would come right over with the trusty medicine bag in hand. House calls, trust me, are nothing to dismiss, being sick in the U.S means getting dressed, getting into the car and being miserable in the waiting room, waiting to be seen, first by the nurse and then by your doctor. The whole time you are miserable in the car, in the waiting room and then back in the car, waiting at the pharmacy. Now in France, I spent all my time in bed with Docteur Duporter coming to see me, examining me and then filling out the prescriptions which were filled at the pharmacy down the street and picked up by my aunt. All the while, I’m laying in bed resting and my wonderful grandmother would bring in a huge amount of children’s books. My grandmother would also take it upon herself to bring me my meals in bed and she would make me her famous rice pudding. She should have been a nurse, she was never happier than when you were laying in bed, not too sick where it was dangerous, but sick enough to want to be doted on with being read to, being fed all of your favorites and your grandmother stroking your head saying “oh, my poor little baby, Mamie is going to make you all better, my little baby girl, Mamie loves you”. Grandmothers are a gift, mine certainly was.
I am not exaggerating in the least, when I am describing how much nicer it was being sick in France. I had my grandmother and my aunt at home ready to make sure that I didn’t want for anything. At home in the States, my poor mother would be stressed because she wouldn’t want to miss work and would have to juggle the doctor’s appointment with her work schedule. She would also be stressed about leaving me home alone, taking my medicine at the proper intervals and the like. I wonder if that didn’t influence me in the subconscious and cause me to save up my illnesses for France because I promise you that I was ill every summer for at least a good solid two weeks during the summer and never sick during the school year.