When our firstborn John was seven-months old, I won a ten-day trip to Paris and Monaco based on my production as a life insurance agent. Unfortunately, the trip was a use-it or lose-it opportunity, and we decided not to go.
We couldn't imagine taking our new baby on such a long trip when we had barely taken him to the grocery store. And we certainly weren't going to leave him home with anyone else who could not possibly measure up to the gold standard of 24/7 care and security that we had created for our first child. Yes, we were pretty obsessed.
But after a week or so of wailing and gnashing our teeth over this lost opportunity, we decided to go, after all. Others have done such daring deeds, so why not us? And we would be with him the whole time to continue monitoring his every movement, and I do mean movement, so why not?
We planned our trip, which, for the most part, meant signing up and confirming the highest level of qualified babysitters we could find in Paris and Monaco. We knew there would be the occasional required dinner at which our hosts might not enjoy our boy's company as much as we would. Oh, and there were the clothes and unexpected supplies we bought in seemingly endless trips to Baby's "R" Us and other such places where doting first-time parents frequent.
All went well on the Atlantic crossing, and we had a wonderful time sauntering through Paris in the springtime with our son. He enjoyed the view from his stroller, when occasionally awake, through the Louvre and Notre Dame, up to Montmartre and down the Champs-Elysees.
On our last day in Paris, we went with a group of old friends to lunch at the Eifel Tower, intending to go to the top to enjoy the view of the city before carrying on to Monaco.
Liz carried John as we approached the elevator with our friends. Diane, a qualified mother of four asked if she could hold John, and Liz, with just a hint of hesitation, handed him over. As it became our turn to enter the elevator, Diane was a foot or two in front of us in line as she stepped into the lift with John in her arms. The elevator doors immediately slammed shut behind her, and the newly installed high-speed elevator rocketed, or so it seemed to us, to the top of the Eifel Tower with our baby, and without us!
Shocked, we could do nothing but wait for the next coach, which seemed an eternity in arriving. We jumped in, sans John, and raced after him. We knew logically that he was safe with Diane, wasn't he? But we didn't know exactly where, and it was pretty disconcerting for about fifteen minutes.
At last, mother and child were joyfully reunited, as shown in the photo above, and we took in the breezy and expansive view from the top of the still tallest structure in Paris.
As John got older, he began to ask when we might go to Europe, and I reminded him that he had already been to Paris and even to the top of the Eifel Tower. And eventually, the opportunity did occur to return to Paris and to the site of his first great adventure, or so it seemed as such to us.