I can now tell my mother-in-law that I understand.
Ten years ago, after the bombings that claimed many lives in Bali, my in-laws insisted on continuing with their plans to return to the tiny volcanic island. I didn't understand their need and feared that my newborn son would miss out on getting to know his grandparents. Bali, while a popular destination for many Aussies, was never one that endeared me enough to overcome my fear of flying (Actually, I'm fine with the smooth bits of the flight, it's just the take off, landing and turbulence. Then I'm making sure my affairs are in order in my head and kissing my ass goodbye).
But today, after hearing of the attacks in Paris, I can honestly say I now understand my in-laws need. Paris holds a special place in my heart. It was the place in which my then 6ft 4 boyfriend overcame his fear of heights (I know! Ironic isn't it? Someone so tall being afraid of heights). He climbed the Eiffel Tower, with a lot of loving encouragement from me ("If that old woman can climb the tower surely you can.") and he proposed in the pouring rain. That man is now my husband, so I think you can guess my answer. Of course Karma had a very fast way of humbling me. On the way down the skies lit up. Now lightning is something I fear, and I was descending the largest conductor in the vicinity in an electrical storm. That was thirteen years ago, but my love for the place hasn't diminished. If I was lucky enough to have tickets booked to Paris for tomorrow (or whenever the borders are reopened), I wouldn't hesitate in going.
To those affected by yesterday's attacks, you're in my heart and thoughts.