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Every time I see my Oma again, I burst into tears.  I steel myself before. I tell myself to be brave. I tell myself to be strong, none of it works.  I see her and I melt. It is just love.  It is my guilt at being so far. It is my sadness at how she has changed.  And it is my fear it is the last time.

My Oma will be 99 this December. An incredible age.  My cousin and I marveled at all the things she has seen in her lifetime.  We find it hard to imagine there will ever be another age where life changed so rapidly, so completely, as the last century.  I feel so blessed I spent so much time with my Oma as a child.  I am the oldest grandchild, maybe because of that our bond is incredibly strong.  We spent hours together playing cards, me always losing (I only discovered she’s a big cheater-head well into my 20’s), shopping, cooking, talking. I miss that now, though at the same time I am so thankful.

She has changed with age, she looks very different, I struggle to see her in the person she is now.  But her blue eyes are just as piercing, just as full of love & pride & joy as always.  And sometimes I see her shine through, like when I burst into tears, she frowned at me, then nodded at my kids sitting still, almost frozen, wondering what to do with their mommy.  It helped me to get myself back together, to turn my attention to them, and explain my tears are of love.

Always when I visit, she is retreated inside herself until I pick up Dane and sit him on her lap.  She immediately grabs on, holds him tight, and just sinks away for a moment in his sweet little boy smell, his warm skin and his amazing personality.  This time I had my camera ready.  I wanted more than anything to capture that moment.  That moment where she is really here.  In the moment.  My Oma.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 patchas 13 October 2013 at 1:34 pm

I really love reading your stories. I was my grandma’s first grandchild and we had a very special relationship. She took tons of photos (the reason I scrapbook) but hated having her photo taken, so very very few pix of she and I together. What a lovely photo and a treasure.


2 Toiny 15 October 2013 at 1:07 pm

Thank you Pat! I am determined to be in pictures more. It’s hard when I’m the photographer, but I’m teaching my kids to use my “baby”.


3 Christine 14 October 2013 at 2:26 am

Your Holland stories always move me to tears and I get instant ‘Heimwee’, home sick. We left Holland in the 1990 moves around in Europe and now landed in the Pacific NorthWest and only when someone writes so intimately about my home country, about the people, the customs, the food I get homesick. I can almost smell the stroopwafels, the breads and much more.

Thank you for another trip back home.


4 Toiny 15 October 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thank you! I really know the “heimwee” feeling. Even living so close now, here in Germany, I have it. I’m glad I could help stir your memories, even if it is a little bittersweet being so far.


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