I was born to know you. To name you. Freedom.

I have always been close to far with my mother . In hindsight, I think I loved her far too badly. A mother does not deserve to be badly loved. No.

There are several categories of friends. Those we can not live without, those we only appreciate for the good times and those that life takes away from us but that always remain in a corner of our heart – those who have always been there, despite the distance, in the good ones as in the bad times. My relationship with my mother comes down to this last category. Despite our long and intense cohabitation – fusional then completely anarchist – my mother and I have always been very connected. My mother is young, my mother is beautiful, my mother always smiles – even when she is sad and that’s what makes her noticed. She shines wherever she goes. Younger, I too shone but always by my inconstancy.

One day she told me “you’ll see” and I laughed.

No threat had ever worked on me. At eighteen, I was not afraid of anything. I hated authority, rules and laws because at eighteen I felt well above all that. I did not like much except loneliness and silence, and my books that I always read in the dark.

I hated my background, this culture, my parents’ story , my name, my middle name, and my mother’s strong accent.

There is something at Elle that bothered me deeply. Something that prevented me from tracing my path, moving forward, becoming all that I had imagined for myself. There has always been this little thing between us that made it stop me.

I have always dreamed of independence, justice, emancipation and freedom, but I always knew that as a migrant girl , I should fight for the right to one day enjoy all these benefits .

“At home” , it has always been necessary to pay attention to others. Protect them, love them precisely and then, pay attention to what they might say or think of us. Pay attention to the neighbor, to the old gossips of the village, aunts and uncles left there and to all those strangers who could convey a bad image of our family .

These others stole my freedom to think, to be and to become a free woman.

When I was born, my mother was 17 years old and she was not married. Foolishly, I thought that these rebellions (at the time) would play in my favor to win my fight for my individual freedom . I really thought that together we could break the strict and medieval taboos, diktats, codes and rules of our culture. But the one who was then to be my most faithful ally, abandoned me for the benefit of all those others – thieves of freedom.

At eighteen, I was convinced … At eighteen, we all needed to hate someone, to have a scapegoat, a puching ball. At eighteen, it is so easy to hate those who gave us everything and who were always there to pick us up when our skinned knees were on the ground. The one that has always been there is Elle. And despite the violence of my words sometimes, She stayed. Worthy, upright and faithful to herself . My mother always knew how to sweep away my tears and sorrows with her smile . How could she finally hate her?

One day she told me “you’ll understand”   and I smiled.

What was there to understand? I knew that she loved me, that we loved each other. This love can not be explained. But. But I was expecting something else from the “We” we formed when we hugged each other . My struggles against injustice, peace, freedom and equality have gradually become more intense. I have renounced morals, my religion, customs and traditions for a more intense life. I knew love and disappointment, I built dreams before disillusionment prevailed, then I met hope and it was called Florian . Often, I say that we met by chance and always it’s a lie because there is no chance, only appointments *. I chose him, even drunk, it’s him I wanted for life. Florian and I have nothing in common except the love and deep respect we have for ourselves.

I wanted someone completely different to help me become free. Freedom, though written in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man and Woman , is neither acquired nor innate. It is definitely won by crossing barefoot storms.

And together , we crossed oceans and for me , he moved mountains so that I could reach certain stars. With Florian, I realized that my freedom and my struggles to win it would always transcend borders. It was at that moment that I really liked it and the click in me took place.

The more serious it became between us and the more the question of having children arose. Naturally, under the quilt, entwined and in love because the most intense and wildest discussions always take place in the dark – late at night.

Thinking about this cultural heritage that I will pass on to this imagined child, I suddenly realized that I myself was rich. My pockets and my heart were full of riches to offer, to distribute, to teach, to transmit for tomorrow – so that this child will never forget who I have been.

Chiara arrived a few years later, after 5 or 6 years of deep depression during which I got very close to my mother . She washed my hair and rocked me, sang rhymes from us to reassure me and stroked my back so that I fell asleep. Never, I would have wanted to fall asleep with another language than the one with which she said so well “I love you”.

There is nothing more to say about this passage of my life except that it allowed me to become the companion that I am, the friend that I am, the child of whom I am – the mother and the woman that I am.

10 years later, I can write it – failing to dare to say it: it is by losing a part of myself that I found the other half, the one I missed for so many years years.

I started writing again and when it was necessary to choose a name to present my universe, I instantly chose to call it ElodieJelena . Without point and without dash. I reconnected with the words by linking these two names so that they together form all that I am and all that I wanted to give you to you but also all that I wanted to leave of me to my daughter.

My daughter will be called Chiara Mila . My daughter is Italian and Serbian and she has names that are synonymous with love, clarity and freedom.

A long time ago, soldiers always started their love letters with “Mila Moja” – My Mila. Mila – my tender, my sweet, my long awaited, my beloved.

Around them, the deafening noise of revolutions merges with the songs of their struggles for freedom and peace.

And I sing like them again and again the same song – like that soldier of freedom that I was too …

E the genti, che passeranno
And people, they will pass
E diranno ‘Oh che bel fior’.
And will say ‘Oh what a beautiful flower’.
E questo he fiore Del partigiano
This flower is the flower of the partisan
O bella ciao
O my beautiful goodbye
Ciao, ciao
Goodbye goodbye

E questo he fiore Del partigiano
This flower is the flower of the partisan
Morto for freedom.
Death for freedom.

And if it’s a girl, she’ll be named XX, Bella . Because I’m free now Mom.

Thank you for your smile that so well told me how much you loved me.

… And they will say ‘Oh what a beautiful flower, this flower is the flower of the partisan, O my beautiful goodbye and thank you Mom.

Some people are so poor … all they have is money.

It’s been nine months since F. is a homemaker , an unemployed man. I did not think I had to write that one day. Graduated from a major business school and having obtained an MBA from a prestigious university in New York, we had never considered this case.

We always want the best for those we love. And that worst was not done for him.

Yesterday I heard two men talking in the street. This is what inspired this article. One said to the other that the French no longer divorced because of infidelity. The first cause of divorce today in France is the loss of employment of the family man. He also insisted on the word “man” as for immediately to highlight the improbability of the situation – which obviously put me in a black rage.

I immediately thought of my brother, saying that he would not have liked to hear that – especially not from other males. However, F. does not have an ego problem and his pride is never misplaced; he knows he can always count on me because he counts for me. What is exceptional about this?

Generally, we all love to tell each other how much we love each other – to the moon and beyond, over the stars, forever and ever, but when do we think we are reassured that we can count on each other? I’m not talking about stretching out the shoulder so the other person can cry – I do not mean there: making important financial concessions without blaming the other person, drawing on personal pleasures to offer other pleasures but to an entire family and endure the inevitable taunts about this family building may be too original, modern, atypical for the most stupid of them. Sounds simple? And yet …

My situation, however, is neither original nor singular – my spouse has made the choice to stop being exploited to take advantage of his family and to reconvert himself to a field that would correspond more and that would take into account his skills , his qualities and his level of studies. This decision was the result of mutual agreement and I find it rather daring.

Since the end of his professional activity, my priority is that he remembers every day that we made this decision to two and that his inactivity would not change anything to my love, my respect and my interest for him. If you have been unemployed, you know how easy and fast it is to feel excluded, transparent, useless.

Since he is a homemaker nothing has changed except that he is no longer present – this is the main reason why he stopped working in the field of mass distribution. Yes, I often felt like a single mother and nine months later, all my resentment did not completely dissipate. It was difficult for everyone but I think I was the main victim in this case and our family life (and our couple) were the first collateral damage of this mistake of course of which it is the only one responsible. For a long time I wanted him but let him live the past where he is. After all, he is fine since no one can do anything for him.

Some may, however, imagine that because my spouse is at home all day and does not “work” (as an employee I hear); it does everything and therefore me, I just have to enjoy a tidy apartment, more time for me or for my friends and I enjoy every evening dishes simmered for long hours . It is not so. We often eat “on the go”, we do not always find time to hug and our studio looks like a war zone very quickly. The girlfriends raise me by always leaving the same joke “well you come more to the evenings ?! And I do not remember the last book I read.

Children and time do not spare parents and they are unemployed or doctors.

We relieve ourselves by distributing more or less equal parts of the household chores. Undeniably, he will always do more than me since I am a full-time employee and therefore I work outside the home. Despite my tiredness, the trips, my sometimes stressful days and my mood swings, I try at night to give a few minutes to the storage of the house by doing for example the evening dishes or by passing a blow of brooms – this which allows him to agree 25-30 minutes with Chiara (that we recover at the nanny together every day at 17:30) or to smoke a cigarette alone .

I wished that we spent more time with the family, that Chiara could take full advantage of her dad, that we leave for a romantic weekend or three, have time for my projects but I did not never desired that one is dependent on one another and that one ends up suffocating.

Of course there are moments without, small inequalities can create conflicts, criticisms are easy but excuses have also learned to become so. I reviewed my goals, my dreams, my ambitions downward, each release, each expense is the subject of a long debate, we learn to be content with little, we find pleasure elsewhere and the smallest attentions, those we did not see before, manage to do the same good. Because we only see well with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

It’s been nine months since F. is a housewife, a dad fully there, a spouse who prepares my coffee every morning and hugs me to say hello. Nothing has changed in the bottom if not our happiness. It is simpler, more banal, less extravagant, less demanding and more rational.

Our pockets weigh less and the beautiful landscapes, I see them elsewhere; failing to feel the heat. I know the flavor of each of Picard’s frozen dishes and I wear the only “real” precious jewel that he could offer me as if it were worth a life.

And my life, my life with you, looks like an unfinished picture in the dark colors that the rain would have swept away in soft, pastel hues. Your presence is like a love song in which we can hear “some people are so poor … all they have is money”.