I am not one of those people that grew up in the same town and knew the same people all her life. I don’t have a best friend that I have known since I was very little. Neither does my husband. Both of our fathers were in the military. We grew up moving and traveling and meeting new people every two years or so. We grew up before emails and the internet made communication so instant and easy.
I spent the first few years of my life living with my Oma and Opa. I would run to the door when my Opa would come home from work with his slippers in hand and then sit with him at the table while he ate his dinner. I would stay the night in their little house in their kleine Garten. I remember digging and planting in their garden. I remember my Oma teaching me to knit. My Opa and I share a birthday. They were the center of my world and for a little while I was theirs. My mother tells me that I was the favorite grandchild.
Then as happens in military life, my father got stationed in the states and I didn’t go back to Germany for twenty-two years. During that time my parents as well as my Oma and Opa got divorced and I got married. For years one of my greatest wishes was that my children would somehow, someway get to meet my grandparents. It was a wish that diminished as time went on and our family grew and life got more complicated.
My children never got to meet my Oma. She passed four years ago. However, this weekend they got to meet my Opa. We spent 4 hours at his apartment on Sunday. My kids were so well behaved. We warned them that Opa is 84 years young and when you are 84 your body doesn’t work as well as it used too. They got it. Jo quickly found a kindred spirit in my Opa and curled up in his lap with a book (or kindle).
Ryan happened to be the last one out of the door. As he was leaving my Opa grabbed him and hug him and said (in German, of course), “Thank you so much for bringing them to me.”