The best part of our trip to Paris and into Normandy has been the experience of listening to the Good grandchildren’s conversations and watching their eyes take in the grandeur of Montmartre and the city of Paris, Monet’s Garden, Mont-Saint-Michel, Honfleur, and Normandy. We are on the last leg of our trip on our way to Versailles to visit what was once the home of French royalty before the French Revolution.
When we left the States a week ago we had a strong family connection. We will leave tomorrow for our homes in the USA feeling a closer tie.
Listening to other grandparent’s travel experiences with their grands gave me guidelines for our trip to Paris.
I noted some grandparents gave their grands the choice of wandering off on their own during the day. Their only request was to meet, as a family, for dinner.
I did not like that plan.
I planned a trip with my criteria of spending every minute with one another. Day trips with guide and driver. Travel as a group in our sprinter. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a family. It worked. We rode together laughing along the way, we learned together with our guides and had discussions over meals as we dined on different styles of French cuisine during our trip to Paris.
My philosophy is, “the family that plays together, stays together.” As this trip ends, my feelings remain even more committed to this philosophy.
All six of us have stable and happy marriages, so there was never any back and forth bickering between the Good couples. Though the two brothers and their wives have very different personalities, they blended and grew closer. My ultimate concierge and I, though older, fit in with our younger grands and felt visible and relevant.
I HAD ONE UNEXPECTED AND FRIGHTENING HAPPENING.
Fortunately, I found myself surrounded with loving help and care from my grands
We were seated in a beautiful restaurant in Honfleur when my grand, Scott looked up from his phone and said, “Noel just posted on Instagram that her cancer came back and it was worse than the first time.”
Noel is my granddaughter, married to my grand, Rob.
There was total silence at the table as everyone looked at me. I was speechless. The grands were aware before we met in Paris that Noel’s cancer had returned and obviously thought — since I am her grandmother — that I would know. That was the reason for Scott’s comment.
What they did not know was that I knew ‘nothing at all’ about Noel’s cancer returning!
The day before we left for our trip to Paris, I had mentioned to my ultimate concierge that I had not heard from Rob or Noel, to say goodbye and wish us a happy trip. I was sad and dismayed about their silence and could not imagine why I had not heard from them. I texted Robbie and asked and did not receive a reply.
Now I understand why there was no call or text before our trip to Paris. The suddenness of her situation presented itself just before we were leaving. Noel had immediate surgery. Apparently, they were not going to send me off with that news.
At the dinner table my tears came, my shock felt and my fear set in. If I had not had my grands, I would not have gotten through the next two days to include the long night.
My darling, Annie Good, went online and showed me the string of photos and story that Noel was posting daily on Instagram, her entire medical journey. Katie Good, a physician assistant in oncology, knew the definition behind the type of Cancer cells Noel had and was able to understand Noel’s condition and educate me.
I texted Robbie and let him know I was aware of everything, and he texted back.
As I write, Noel and Robbie are on their second medical journey in a year. They have a plan in place for her recovery.
Katie understands the plan that will include an auto-stem cell transplant and chemo. She sent a text message to Robbie to be sure and ask the doctor’s an important question.
My granddaughters were so caring and knowledgeable and helped me through the shock with their unconditional love and information. I love them.
IT IS EERIE THAT ONE YEAR BEFORE OUR TRIP TO PARIS I WROTE A POEM TO NOEL.
I had written the poem a year ago, In September of 2017, when Noel and I found ourselves in different hospitals having Cancer surgery.
In the middle of the night, as I lay in my hospital bed with thoughts of her, I wrote her a poem. I saved it for one year and mailed it last week when I felt it was time appropriate. Within four days of her receiving my poem, Noel was in surgery fighting Cancer for the second time in her young life.
Cancer is an emotionally challenging and fearful experience. I am not the same woman I was. I am better. Reread my poem. For every negative, we have a positive if we look for it. Look for yours, darlings. Noel and I know ours. We will continue to ride our waves.
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