Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tuesday with Madame Christine

Arleigh and I still visit Madame Christine each Tuesday for lunch. Madame Christine is our neighbor who is a victim of multiple sclerosis. Frankly she doesn't see herself as a victim at all. She’s an incredible person with an incredible perspective and incredible outlook.  Not to mention a never ending smile. Perhaps the most positive person I have ever met in my life. We initially visited and had lunch so that her husband didn’t have to run home from work to prepare her lunch. Now however, the visits have become less about duty to help and much more about a growing friendship.

We’re always encouraged to bring stale bread along for the chickens. They don’t have chickens, but another neighbor does, and often, the chickens wander into Madame Christine’s yard for a little snack. Arleigh loves to feed the chickens. We hadn’t seen the chickens around for a long time though and thought perhaps, they ended up in someone’s soup. Tuesday we had confirmation that they are still around and still love pain d'épice, a special bread that we too, love quite well here in Belgium. 

 Arleigh is infatuated with running the espresso machine. He’s quite helpful at the end of the lunch as he’ll ask in a hopeful tone “Madame Christine, would you like a coffee?” He knows if she agrees he’ll get to run the machine. I know she says yes sometimes just to make him happy and let him push the espresso maker buttons. He was unexpectedly helpful on this visit though, asking often if he could bring her something or assist in some way. I realized then, that even at such a young age, he’s learning by example to help others in need. It makes my heart swell.

On this particular visit, Christine and Arleigh chatted over the chickens, what happens at pre school, and all about his missing Bun Bun (who has fortunately since been recovered). She's a great sport with the kids. We’ve gotten into the habit of sharing Belgian dishes and Christine teaches me how to make all sorts of Belgian and French cuisine which I definitely love and appreciate. Before we leave each Tuesday,  she offers Arleigh a ride on her lift to the next floor. He has only recently accepted and they both seem completely delighted for the 3 minutes he runs her chair up and down the stairs. Arleigh and I absolutely enjoy our Tuesdays with Madame Christine and look forward to Tuesday each week.

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