View from Rue Saint-Georges

Mornings of Stillness and Wonder

How my son is helping me to rediscover the City of Lights

By Thomas Chatterton Williams | June 5, 2019
Flickr/Ilirjan Rrumbullaku
Flickr/Ilirjan Rrumbullaku

My 11-month-old son has taken to waking up early in recent days. My wife handles his new routine during the week, but on weekends, I take over so she can sleep in. The weather has been spectacular lately, and often Paris seems deserted on Saturdays and Sundays, when families with kids are “doing the bridge,” or taking advantage of midweek holidays to create extended getaways. I take my son out on the empty streets for aimless, early-morning walks. For a baby, there is no contentment like motion, and he quickly falls asleep in his stroller. I continue on, as I used to do when exploring the city on my own, discovering a new café or an unfamiliar passage revealing a bench beside a fountain on a sun-drenched square.

These jaunts have become a moment of serenity in my otherwise overbooked, always-on days. I realize with some sadness that they will soon come to an end. Before too long, my son will be walking, talking more, and sleeping less. There will be other things to look forward to, of course, but the stillness and closeness of our mornings will change. And so, I try to savor this sense of togetherness, as well as this fresh glimpse of Pairs that my son’s wakefulness occasions, even as it’s already slipping away.

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