The children and I like to read through our family journal together every once in a while. The other night, we found a gem from several year ago:

March 2011
A few weeks back, after darting into the street, little L turned to me and said, “See, Mum! I DIDN’T get hit by a car!” And then later, at church, pleased to disprove another one of my claims, “Mum! I found a piece of candy on the ground, and I ate it. And it WASN’T yucky!”

I did not think I would ever be able to trust that boy with his own life!

But, this summer, while on holiday in France, each morning I would send the same boy, years older now, and his sister, with a few euros, to the patisserie in Lery for a baguette and three pains au chocolat – alone. The two loved the quiet walk along the shuttered streets. They loved the responsibility of purchasing and bringing home the family breakfast.

One morning, after breakfast, we decided to seek out the oldest carousel in Normandy – the French love their carousels – and found ourselves in Honfleur, France.

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After a few rounds on the carousel, we visited a creperie, and absolutely tore apart their beautiful language by trying to order our crepes in French. We went shopping. L decided to spend his money on a WWII model airplane. And J bought himself a pack of 100 tictacs (groan). Bry enjoyed a local chocolaterie, and I found some fun things at a biscuiterie. We passed a few sandwicheries and availed ourselves of more than a few boulangeries/patisseries. We saw a Gyro stand on the edge of town, and wondered why it wasn’t called a gyroerie.

We took another day to bask on the beaches, and wander the streets of Trouville sur Mer.

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And when we had no plans later in the week, we went out, in search of French antique markets. Two villages and three hours later, we had procured a number of chocolates, baguettes, and cheeses, but no antiques.

Why Lery? Home exchange! Who knew that anyone in this sleepy provincial village would have need of a week in NYC! Well Francios and Sylvie did, and our family were the benefactors. Only, our’s was a 10-day stay in this Lery, Normandy.

 

Bryant and I have taken the children to Normandy before. Baguettes and carousels, aside, Normandy and its WWII beaches, is sacred ground.

Our first visit, years ago, we were careful how we introduced our young children to the atrocities of war. We prepared appropriately for that visit.

But, L wasn’t the only one to mature in the past few years. And we prepared much differently for this summer’s visit. See our next post for a list of things that our family would consider “musts” while visiting the WW II sites in Normandy.