My thirteen-year-old daughter wants to go to France. She plucks at her shirt and signs that she wants to go shopping in Paris, fashion capital of the world. She gazes at me with her brown eyes, puts her hands together as if to pray, and says, “Iaaiii!” Ikittai! I want to go!
“How did you learn about shopping in Paris?” I ask he
“I saw it on TV,” she signs.
Okay, so maybe she watches too much TV and reads too many comic books, but she picks up a lot. And I admit I may have helped to plant a seed in her head. When she was about three-years old, I began fantasizing about a mother-daughter trip to Paris, maybe when she turned fourteen. We’d pop into the Centre Pompidou and check out the funky shops in Le Marais. We’d sit in sidewalk cafes, drinking citron presse, and roam the galleries of the great museums. I even wrote a novel based upon this fantasy.
Of my two children, my daughter is the one who has inherited my wanderlust. When I suggest foreign travel to her twin brother, he moans about the long, boring plane ride, strange food, and having to miss baseball practice. But my daughter? She’s ready to go!
I didn’t fly on a plane myself until I was nineteen. I worked part-time and saved my money in order to go to France for a semester abroad, but I worry that my daughter won’t ever be able to go to Paris if she has to pay her own way. She has multiple disabilities and no one expects her to go to college. Although she is entitled to an allowance from the government, I fear it won’t be enough for all the trips that she wants to take.
“I’ll take you to Paris,” I tell her, forming a plan. “Just you and me.” I’ll teach her about art and history and the beginnings of sign language. We’ll watch the movie Marie Antoinette and then we’ll tour Versailles. We’ll eat French food and take an elevator up the Eiffel Tower.
“Paris, later,” she signs. “First, I want to go to Disneyland.”