Aunty Joy in Paris
When I was a kid, I was attracted to women who had giant rings on their fingers, often glamorously referred to as cocktail rings. I noticed these women seemed to belong to a special club! They were a little louder, noisier, a tad more free-spirited and sometimes downright naughty.
I watched with intent from the front row of my parent’s parties, barbecues and events how different types of people did life, I decided a long time ago I wanted to join the ‘cocktail ring club’. I wanted to be a glamorous woman with cocktails rings, living ‘who knows where’ in the world, doing something interesting and fabulous whilst being slightly naughty.
Even as I kid, that wild maverick side of me wanted to be unconventional. There were so many things that just the thought of made me feel hemmed in. A picket fence (would love one now), a grinding routine and conforming to the norms of society.
I remembered in my late teens announcing if I ever got married I wouldn’t choose a diamond ring I would have a piece of rock instead and I would wear something weird to the wedding. My poor mother would just roll her eyes and deal with my latest rant on whatever I thought about life or my weird fashion moment.
When I was growing up I was attracted to excitement. I guess it was wanting a ‘bigger life’ and excitement felt like that, a little dangerous, a little sexy and a little like the ladies wearing those cocktail rings, doing something you shouldn’t do whether it was going to a party you shouldn’t be going to, hitchhiking to see Barnesy at the Kempsey RSL (sorry mum never told you about that) and being attracted to the funster men (mostly proved to be heartbreakers and very unreliable)!
When my sisters started having babies I was the most excited Aunty on the planet. They did the most amazing job being mums whilst I was still kicking around Sydney single, a little lost in a life that didn’t feel that exciting. How did the girl with the cocktail ring fantasy end up single at 35, in a job with a grinding routine, pretty much conforming to the norms of society!!!!! What happened to that bigger life?
Well, I took my Aunty duties very seriously and packed as much fun into our lives as we could when I still lived in Sydney near these beautiful poppets. We would go to the pool together, dine in Darlinghurst (aka sip a babycino) and I would just love to look at these beautiful creatures and watch them grow.
A lot has happened in between and last night (aka 19 years living in Europe) and one of these poppets was in Paris this week and is now a grown, beautiful woman. I took her on one of my favourite tours around my local area in Paris, starting with a coffee at Caffe Tortoni and little something from Bully, off to see an exhibition of Elliott Erwitt, we dropped into Merci to check the wares and then weaved our way through the cobbled streets of the Marais eating Pierre Hermé macaroons on the hop before delving into Eataly just to please my Italian heart.
We watched Jessica Chastain shooting a movie on the corner of Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe and then we headed to the river and found two empty beach chairs (modern miracle) on 29-degree days and drank Aperol Spritz as the sun went down along the Seine with the whole of Paris.
There was a moment that I looked at my beautiful niece Isabella and got choked up at her beauty, intelligence and kindness and with all my heart and felt grateful to share this moment with her.
I reached down to get something out of my bag and I saw my handful of big rings, you could almost call them cocktail rings on my leopard print dress and I was wonderstruck — sitting on the edge of the Seine in the spectacular afternoon light watching the sun going down behind Pont Louise Philippe, I realised I had become the little girl in my childhood dream without even noticing. I was no longer watching from the front row I was her and ever so naughty!
The spirit of the unconventional girl may have been covered up for the best part of 20 years in the middle of my life whilst I lived the wrong life for me but she triumphed in the end. My spirit kept whispering in my ears all these years and like the words in my own jumbled Cat Stevens song (needs to sung to The Cat’s in the Cradle) I formed my own lyrics as I headed home.
As I caught the metro home, it occurred to me
I’d grown up just like me
I was just like me
Sending you light and love,
P.S. If you have still have some dreams you would like to realize, you can grab a copy of my NEW BEGINNINGS WORKBOOK HERE. It’s never too late.