Due to my budding interest in Buddhism, on Saturday morning, I dragged the kids and my significant other to a documentary on Plum Village. The monastery in the south of France was founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist Monk exiled from his home country of Vietnam. I’m drawn to the peace he called for and the practice of mindfulness that he teaches.
Afterward, we had lunch at Bru Burger, did a little Christmas shopping for my grandpup, and hit Amelia’s bakery for bread and cookies.
At that point, I was ready to go home, but my other asked if I’d like to shop at an international grocery store. I wasn’t certain I was up to it, but we forged ahead.
Upon stepping inside, 13-year-old daughter commented, “I feel like I’m in Germany.”
We picked up a couple of produce items, paused to look at giant fish laid out on ice, and examined the packaged pig parts you don’t typically find in the grocery stores we frequent.
Then we came to the “dry goods,” and something clicked with my kids. Suddenly, they were exploring together, discussing various products, and exclaiming over items they used to find in Germany or Belize. Without asking, they dropped things into the cart before running to find more.
My other turned to find me standing in the middle of the jam and jelly aisle with tears streaming down my face. Quickly wrapping his arms around me, he let me cry for a minute before asking if I was OK.
I explained, “These are happy tears. By bringing us here, you gave us something back.”
From the time my two youngest were born, it was pretty much just the three of us exploring the world. We would fly to whatever country their dad was working in, and set up a temporary household. Sometimes for a couple of weeks, sometimes for three or four months.
On our first full day in each country, the three of us would venture to a grocery store to explore. I would let them put anything that struck their fancy into the cart, and then we would go back to our temporary home and sample the new foods. It was our little way of acclimating to a new culture. It was also something I knew they would lose when I chose to divorce.
Berlin was where daughter always said she felt the most like she had a “normal” family. It was because their dad came home from work every evening for dinner, and on weekends he was free to explore with us. While the lifestyle was hard on the marriage, those were also some of the happiest times for my kids.
In the autumn of 2014, we spent three months in Germany and Lithuania. It was our last international trip together.
At the end of Saturday’s excursion, daughter declared it “the best day ever!” One more little piece of the healing puzzle snapped into place.
I left my old life in search of peace. While I’d love to visit a Buddhist Monastery in the south of France, I’ve discovered you don’t have to travel far and wide to find it. Sometimes, you need only to be very mindful of the small moments in a grocery store aisle.
Syndicated columnist Ginger Claremohr is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web: www.claremohr.com, or contact ginger@claremohr.com.