Today would have been Oma’s 104th birthday. I was really fortunate to be so close to my Oma and Opa. For me, going to spend the summer with my Oma and Opa meant several things. The first was that I would get undivided attention, since my brothers were back home. The second was that my Oma drew you to her, you felt that being around her was like being wrapped in all of the good things. My Oma had that spark to her, that magnetism that drew people in and that made you feel as if you were the only person in the world that mattered to her. It is no wonder that we always competed for her attention when she came to visit. My Opa, on the other hand, was this steady presence in the background, content to watch over the people that mattered most to him. My Opa was a sea captain and had the perfect personality for it – strong, principled, patient, believing in the potential of people and reserved.
Being close to my Oma and Opa meant that I also had another way to learn about my mom. It seemed hard to believe that my mom was ever young enough to have parents, that she wasn’t just born Mom! And, of course, while I was in my period of “I know it better than anyone else and certainly better than my mom”, my Oma and Opa were even more of a safe refuge. I could love and be loved without having to worry about whether or not I was giving into parental authority. I wonder sometimes if my Opa and Oma didn’t have a quiet chuckle over the the fact that my mom ‘s daughter was just as difficult as she had been to them. Potentially more so because I had a far more alienating fashion sense and loved the Ramones vs the relative sedateness of big band, jazz and the Beatles.
I like to think that maybe somewhere the three of them have had time to catch up with each other. When I look through the boxes of pictures that I have, my favorites are when I was still an only child and surrounded by my mom and Oma and Opa. These were the moments of my life that I was wrapped in all the love, security and adoration of three adults all to myself! My mom has told me stories of how I would refuse to fall asleep and Opa would have to take me around for blocks and blocks and that I stood at the top of the staircase calling for Oma in the most annoying voice possible because I knew she would come.
And I keep them near. The jewelry I wear regularly is my Opa’s sealing ring and my mom’s bracelet which was Oma’s first. Not to mention the furniture and the table that I eat at.
Lots of visitors today. The owner of our house came by and showed me how to change the light bulbs under the kitchen cabinets. He seemed relieved that I very much liked living here but I think it was bittersweet for him as well, since they now live in San Francisco. We’ve got two more months before the diplomatic clause is up. This is the clause in the lease that allows either party to end the lease in the event of work related issues. It is good for six months and then after that, it no longer applies. I would hate to move. I mean, I would give them back their house at the end of the lease, I am not unreasonable 😉 but I would like to stay.
The upstairs neighbors came down a few minutes ago to introduce themselves. Very nice young women, it is the first time they have lived outside of their parent’s homes. And a first home purchase. Not a bad place for your starter home!
I met someone from Seattle today. The lady who works at the clothing repair shop. 38 years ago she came here on a college trip and obviously found a life here! We talked about the Seahawks and the size of Seattle. Turns out she was just there last week too. In three minutes, she had sewed the button back on my shirt and fixed a hole I didn’t even know about.
I am off to Dublin tomorrow for work. This should be fun, my first time to visit Ireland and my first time flying Aer Lingus. I will be there for three days. Renée will house sitting for the zoo again so I know they are all going to be in good hands.
We had a good trip to Schagen yesterday. George had some upset stomach issues (thanks to Dr. Pieter for the diagnosis) and didn’t really want to eat. Although he made an exception for a piece of liverwurst with his seizure pill in it. And he got to spend a lot of time sitting on Dr. Pieter’s lap. Henry, on the other hand, spent the time sitting under the table on a blanket barking at various passersby. We had a wonderful afternoon over Thai soup, coffee, white wine and an amazing set of sandwiches. I always feel like going to Schagen is a like a vacation, it feels so far away. However, it is really only 40 miles from us. George’s appetite is back to normal and he seems to be his bouncy self again.