In December 1995 I travelled to Paris and studied the French language intensively there for three months. It is a city I have always held dear to my heart.
I have spent the bulk of this morning on the beach with the extended family. Watching my girls and their cousins, their grandparents, their aunties and uncles. We have been swimming, and building sand castles, enjoying the sun and the freedom.
On the other side of the world people are frantically trying to find out if their loved ones are ok. They are trying desperately to get home in a city where transport has been halted for a while. They are trying to comprehend the horror of what has befallen them.
Me too, I am trying to understand why? And other questions arise with that.
Why are we safe and others not?
How could they?
And so many more.
On our way to the beach this morning I told my daughters what had happened on the other side of the world. How some people who thought they were going to a concert or out to dinner were killed simply because they were there.
My eldest reacted with ” I never want to go to Paris, Mum” and my heart broke, because this is a beautiful city, a city of love, a city of lights, a city we have always dreamed of showing our girls.
And it struck me that for her in that moment the terrorist won. Because the goal of a terrorist is fear.
I told her how beautiful that city is, how much I love it, how much it is a part of me, and we said a prayer for the people of Paris. And we remembered that perfect love drives out fear.
And we went to the beach, and we celebrated being together as a family.
And some of the salt on my face today was not from the sea.