Paris and Normandy

notre_damearccliffsNovember 18, 2014

After returning from Europe two weeks ago, I wrote only about our trip to Versailles and our gaffes at the airport security for which Robert paid the price. Those were difficult times for Robert and thus for me too. Robert’s reactions, although to some degree predictable, resulted from his specific understanding of rules, and his lack of ability to communicate efficiently under stress. With some reluctance, I have to say, that those reaction were disability related.

I haven’t written about our evening walks along Seine River to Notre Dame and back to Gare de Lyon.  I haven’t written about Robert’s walk from L’arc de Triumphe to Eiffel Tower which included a few rides on merry go round.  I haven’t written about Beauvais Cathedral or the cathedral in Bayeau.  I didn’t write about night walk to Mont Saint Michel  and another one we took the following morning not before we bought two umbrellas. Up and down the stairs to and through the Monastery. I haven’t written about climbing Cliffs in Etretat or stopping at Granville to look at the Ocean. I haven’t written, because Robert was doing exactly what everybody else in our group was doing. Walking up and down through the Monastery, looking at never-ending cathedral ceilings, rosettes, and tall, colorful windows, one above the other.

I didn’t write about Robert, because I did not pay any special attention to him.  He didn’t need our attention.  He let us see for ourselves and he was seeing everything for himself.  He was engrossed in the changing surroundings the same way, each of us was. I didn’t notice any idiosyncrasies that would make Robert’s reactions different from ours. I also refrained from directing Robert’s attention toward specific objects.  I am not sure there was a need to do just that.  Robert had a right to absorb everything in his own way. And so he did. It was a beautiful trip, almost magical.  We all felt that.

Robert didn’t mind being squeezed at the back of the car with his sister and me, while Alain or Robert’s dad drove for hours.  Robert somehow knew that at the end of the trip there would be something to see and the hotel to sleep in. And that hotel might even have a swimming pool.

Leave a comment


  1. Jean

     /  November 19, 2014

    Wonderful encouraging post.

  2. Claudia Rosenfield

     /  November 21, 2014

    So wonderful to hear that you all had such a lovely trip. I have also been to Bayeau and Mont Saint Michel. It is indeed, magical. Good for Robert! He’s such a great kid. I miss him!

  3. We miss you too!!! When I tell my friends that you had volunteered your time week after week for years to provide a great support for young people with disabilities, they all say what I have known for a long time: You are on of the most amazing people in this world!

  4. Claudia Rosenfield

     /  November 26, 2014

    Thank you. It was my pleasure!


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