postcard from paris

I needed a parole from my life back in Brooklyn. An escape where there were no schedules, responsibilities, wants or needs, except for the ones I choose. I don’t take the ability to do this for granted. I’m incredibly thankful to have a mom who helps by watching the girls, and a sitter who pinch hits, too. On the outside, I know my life feels like an adventure. I mean, to be able to jet set to Paris every few months, and cash in a few vacation days away from motherhood—who doesn’t dream about that? The truth is, I’d trade it all for my old life. The one where my future seemed so clear. The one where my best friend came home to me every night. The life where I had at least one person who thought the world of me.

I haven’t felt myself lately. I seem to be going through the motions, but each moment seems riddled with anxiety and unrest. There was a break in these feelings a few days ago, as I began to find some peace at the thought of not really knowing where I’m going, or what I’m doing. The unknown is so frightening, and thinking too far ahead is what trips me up from finding peace in the moment.


I realized I forgot my map home as I was driving to the airport on Thursday night, and panicked a little. That map is my security blanket, and connects me to my first trip here 14 months ago. The seams in every fold show the wear and tear we’ve been through together. Perhaps it was a message from above, telling me I’m ready to fly solo.

My first 24 hours here were a mix of napping, walking, and shopping for provisions to hold me over while I hunker down to do some writing. I paid no attention to the regular rules of time, letting my body and mind rest when it needed. I even packed my running gear so I could do something I’ve missed incredibly the last two years. I used to wake up every morning around 5:30am and go running. I loved those hours before the rest of the city awoke. I can’t do that now because there’s no one else to stay with the kids. I managed to get back into a different exercise routine a year ago, and then a severe case of tendonitis landed me in physical therapy.

This morning, I went for my first morning run in over two years while the streets of Paris were still wiping the sleep from their eyes. For that one blissful hour I felt a glimmer of the old me shining through. I’m trying not to feel frustrated knowing this is only a reprieve, and will cherish my morning run for the next three days. I’ll soak up every minute of the young sun kissing my face, and the brisk air blushing my cheeks. I’ll focus on being thankful for the present, and not get tangled in the thoughts of moments that will never be.


  • Carol

    Somehow right after your husband died I saw your blog. I am a Mom in SoCal of 2 teenage daughters. My admiration of your strength and grace only grows to hear how you keeping trying new ways to be okay. I pray for you and believe in you. Your daughters are beyond lucky to be born to you. Imagine a Mom showing you how to live a happy life after unthinkable loss. #girlpower

  • Lou

    Hi Jen. Just read your post and thought you should know that what you’re doing is continuous therapy. I will never utter the words “I know how you feel” because only you can know that. I have however, always known how amazing you were and you continue to prove me right with your strength and courage. So keep running…and searching and posting until you can find your sense of “Normal” again! I hope this message from an “old friend” (only by 2 years) makes you realize you have more people pulling for you every day.

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    Oh Jennie…you took the words right out of my mouth. As you know my hubby died 3 weeks after yours. Your blog inspires me so much. The following lines you wrote is how I feel everyday….”The one where my future seemed so clear. The one where my best friend came home to me every night. The life where I had at least one person who thought the world of me.” I miss knowing there is loved one that loves me unconditionally, I miss a loving hug and hearing the words I love you.
    Thank you for sharing and I hope you find peace on your latest adventure.
    Ann xoxo

  • Radhika

    Hugs to you, Jennie!! I appreciate my best friend so much more because of you. Do what you have to. Enjoy Paris.

  • Carolyn Iyer

    ‘finding peace in the moment’….how I identified with that line. it’s sunday morning in Toronto and I read this post upon waking–a wonderful piece to reflect on. enjoy Paris, it seems to be part of the journey for you–and you’ve kept at your journey despite how very painful it’s been in these last couple of years. to peace, finding it, keeping it, ever-elusive but always waiting…

  • Kimberly Hampton

    Just keep going! My life was turned upside down with a serious work injury that almost cost me my life and without the ability to work. Terrifying for someone who is single and no one else to depend on but myself. Finally, after two very painful surgical repairs and a lot of home self inspired PT, I was able to join the work force again in a new role with a new master’s degree to allow me independence again! I am finally on the right path with a job I love and purchasing a new home to call mine.
    It was not the road I had envisioned, but I am where I need to be!
    I hope you find your inner peace soon and can move forward with your life and the lives of the girls. I am sure your husband is looking over you and just wants all of you to be happy and at peace!

  • Lorette Lavine

    Enjoy Paris ….you have so much to offer and give through your recipes and writing ….and your ability to share. One of my social worker colleagues told me life is a series of attachments and losses and how we deal with them. I have found this to be true in my life and practice. Many good thoughts to you…xo

  • Julie

    Enjoy your time in Paris. I’m enjoying your IG photos. Isn’t it amazing what great therapy running can be. I thoroughly rely on it. Be well.

  • Kristen

    My sister-in-law spent the weekend cleaning out my brothers dressers and closet. The strength you two have is just beyond my own comprehension.
    I admire your willingness to be so honest and open with your journey and I think Paris and you are meant to be together as much as you can. You seem so alive there!

  • Melissa

    I’ve been catching up on a lot of blog reading so I just tackled quite a few of your recent posts. I see you keep having a problem with fleas at your new house! I know it sounds too good to be true but all you need is a spray bottle of water and about a tablespoon of plain Ivory dish soap. Douse every inch of the house in the mixture and wash everything that’s washable in the washer with it. Keep the bottle handy for any stragglers. Ivory has a chemical in it that will suffocate fleas instantly but is gentle on fabric, fresh smelling and safe for kiddos and pets. I have 4 cats and after we found this tip on a vet’s website we have never had another flea! Good luck and Godspeed.