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.
My beautiful boy turned six this week. Six. It is bittersweet for me because I know he is my last, my youngest, my baby and he’s already heading into big boy territory. His wingman, Christian, also had a very big birthday and turned 21. How? How did this happen? Why are my boys so big?
I had a wonderful Skype with Christian. He’s still training in his MOS school out in California (he’s a Marine, MOS school = job specific basically). Skype is the best invention ever. Hands down. Seeing his smile is almost as good as having him here. The only bad part is it’s much harder to hide the tears when your face is on camera. I think I did a good job though, he hung up with a big, beautiful grin on his face. God I miss my boy.
Dane had a fantabulous birthday! He’s really been struggling to fit in at his new kindergarten, and the rainbow cupcakes we baked (gotta love pinterest!) turned out letter perfect & paved the way for some new friendships. Bonus! They were super fun to make, even Dave got in the fun. At school, Dane received a birthday crown, a big “I’m 6″ necklace, and he a book from his teacher all about how he’s a big boy now. Sniff.
On his birthday we also got a letter from school detailing next-steps in his transition to elementary school, and first grade. Quick recap, here kindergarten is three years; from 3-to-6. Then they switch schools to Grundschule (elementary school) for four years. The best part is they really work hard to acclimated the kids to the new school. Since the New Year the Riesenkinder (giant kids, LOL) have been going to the Grundschule every other week. First to look around, then to do a fun activity with their mentors (Tess’ class!), and now it’s time for the next step. Each Riesenkind will spend a full day at the Grundschule. They are doing it in small groups of 3-4 kindergartens, and they will spend a full day integrated in the normal lessons with this years first graders. What a thoughtful, fantastic way to break in the new school. Especially for a kid like Dane, who struggles with transitions, this is a God send.
In the meantime, I didn’t get a single good photo of Dane on his birthday. It was way too exciting for him to sit still. He’s really not a sit still kind-of-guy. This picture is from Karens’ (SnickerdoodleDesigns) visit early this month. I think it illustrates his energy perfectly. Taken at the amazing Benedictine Monastery in Hirsau.
Our new house came with a little apartment on the ground floor. We use it mostly for game nights & so-mom-doesn’t-hear the x-box. But it is a fantastic little space for guests. I sent emails to my Design Team, friends & family that I had room. I’ve already had friends & family come to visit, and this week I had my first Designer come! Karen (SnickerdoodleDesigns) and her husband Rick stayed for three waaaaay too short days this week.
We all fell in love with both Karen & Rick. Last night, their first night not here, I had two sad, small children nestled in my arms. Tess even had tears she missed Karen so much. If that doesn’t tell you what a truly warm, loving, amazing person she is… well, I have no more words. I would move both of them in, permanently, in a heart beat. What a blessing to find a friend through scrapbooking that now feels like part of my family.
I drove them around several of the little villages here in the Black Forest, both of us whipping out our camera’s and using the beautiful scenery and my kids as models. We especially enjoyed the old monastery: Kloster Hirsau, dating back to the 11th century. Much of it is in ruins, some still blackened from a big fire in the 1500′s. My kids happily climbed broken stone walls & showed off their monkey skills. Karen briefly donated her bright orange sweater to Tess so we could get better contrast photo’s of her against the ancient backgrounds.
Karen quickly realized how I get such good shots of both kids… they love to pose! The second they saw her camera even waver in their direction, they pulled out their photoshoot faces. They make it easy! I quickly realized Karen is an amazing photographer. She is very humble, but I noticed! Rick, being a fantabulous husband, told me she’s even won prizes. Karen blushed! But I got copies of all her photo’s. He’s not lying. She is prize-worthy & I wish she was here longer so I could learn from and have a partner as I walk around & shoot photo’s. I really miss them. Funny how only 3 days together can bond you so close.
I’m working on editing & getting more of the photo’s up & sharing. This picture says it all though, Dane & Rick are best buddies: