Saturday, May 23, 2015

My mother is visiting from Germany. I haven't seen her in six years.

My Mom is visiting us from Germany. We haven't seen each other for almost six years. The last time she was here in America was when I gave birth to my third child at home. I remember my Mom leaning over the edge of the sofa where I labored, petting my head and cracking jokes to lighten the mood. Nothing like German humor to get childbirth under way.

Now the tiny, wrinkled newborn my Mom watched being born is a bossy self-confident preschooler named Eva. She adores her German Oma. She chats her up all day long, which is a little difficult since my mother doesn't understand 80 percent of Eva's dialogue, but that doesn't stop those two from bonding. I watch them with their heads together, or holding hands on a walk, or sharing a piece of pie as if they had known each other all their lives. It makes me teary, knowing that a continent separates us and that these times of togetherness are extra special. We would visit each other more if it weren't so expensive to fly to each other's countries. I haven't been back to Germany in nine years. NINE years! I want to show my children my home country, but there are some obstacles, like the five thousand dollars or more just for the flight for our family of five, or time away from our homestead with all its animals and chores.

My kids are fascinated by their German grandma with her funny accent, hilarious choice of words, and the mystique and sense of adventure swirling around her from her BMW-motorcycle-riding-days, when she used to come visit me and we toured together on our motorcycles.  Despite the language barrier and despite the fact that they only met her once, they are getting along like best pals.  My twelve-year-old son Kai baked her an apple pie for her first dinner in our house.  My middle son Lukas plays drums and keyboard for her to keep her entertained.  And Eva shows her around the forest to collect salmonberries, or introduces her to the animals on our homestead.

My mother and I used to be estranged and didn't talk for a couple of years.  Now, while we are weeding and planting my garden together, or go for long walks along the river, or feed the pigs, or play with the goats, we talk for hours every day.  There's so much to catch up on, so much to remember from the past, so much to explain and heal.  We both feel very tender, I think, and know that these days are numbered.  She will leave again in a couple of weeks, and who knows if we will ever see each other again?

I am so proud to show her my life because I love my life, and I have worked hard to build it.  It moves me to see how happy she is about the fact that I have succeeded in finding love, purpose and happiness.  

So we walk and talk, do chores and drink beer late into the night.  We have hugged more in the week she has been here than we have our whole lives.  We are smelling the roses together.  Ahhh, the roses!  Ahhh, the garden!


  1. What a beautiful pink rose. And what a beautiful chapter in your personal story, thank you for sharing. Such a timely reminder for me.

  2. I think I am only too familiar with what must be going on inside your heart and mind these days. Haven't seen my mom in 5 years and we only recently started communicating via that despised media facebook.
    Maybe one day she and I will meet again face to face. Until then.....

    Cherish the time together and create memories. Loads of them. And make sure there are smells to associate with those, since smells are the strongest trigger for memories. Smell that rose extra intensely and those pies and and and.... You all are blessed with this time of togetherness.

    1. Ron, I am in tears reading this. Thank you!

  3. I love your mother. I don't even know her but those pictures show that she is really nice. Just like you! And your little daughter is a chip off the two older blocks. I see so much of you and gramma in her! Love your pictures of the green northwest!

    1. Yes! You can see where my daughter gets her sassyness!


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