Leave it to the French to spoil a quiet moment.
No, really it was my toddler, just choosing to blast a track from Putumayo’s French Playground in the middle of a rare couple connection.
The three of us had just gone out for a nice dinner together — lovely walk in cool September air down to our local restaurant strip, good food, happy in high chair the entire time (sitting outside helps), and a nice walk home in the dark, serenaded by crickets.
The plan was to give the boy the last nursing of the day and then a little more food before taking him up to bed. After he scrambled off the couch, my husband aimed the remote control at the Squeeze Box and programmed Johnny Hartmann and John Coltrane’s “My One and Only Love,” ostensibly “our song” for the last decade and a half. Usually preoccupied with getting something done every minute, I was unusually happy and grateful for my family, but more importantly, appreciative of my husband for who he is and all he and I have been through together.
The saxophone lifted sweetly and then slid low and heavy. I took off my glasses and crawled to the other side of the couch to wrap my arms around LJ and bury my head in his shoulder. It was one of those moments when we knew we were still the kids who fell in love with each other.
And then the trombone blasted. Our son was playing with the CD player on the floor again, and he’d chosen track 12 of French Playground, a super hyper song called “La P’tite Monnaie” by a guy named Benabar. It couldn’t have been more out of character with the moment. Brash, frenetic, stimulant from the hardwood meets nostalgic, languid, loving on the couch.
I laughed so hard I cried, and we were still laughing when the boy crawled up and joined our group hug. “It’s loud,” E said of the music. I agreed and eventually got up and turned it down gradually before hitting the off button.
I’d never been able to figure out the message of the song — only caught words here and there. The title, I read tonight, means “small change,” as in the simple moments, like Sunday l/brunch. The liner note intro for this song reads: “Many people in France cherish the idea that the best things in life are the simplest: being with our families, good food, good friends, and good times.”