Heavens to Betsy! What a wonderful month that I haven’t even blogged a single word about.
Please excuse my absence. In case you are wondering, I did follow the example of Alice and trotted after the Travel rabbit down a fascinating hole. The first few weeks were spent in planning for the 15 days my parents would spend with us and the rest of the time was spent in living out that dream. The past few days have been about planting my feet firmly in reality and feeling immensely grateful for our trip in Wonderland.
It was no surprise that my parents were so surprised by the beauty of Germany’s ancient history. It was such a wonderful gift to see that beauty through their eyes and see new things through my own.
Living in Germany in an American community can suck you into a state of frenzy. Shortly after arriving myself, I attended a party. It was there that I was first asked the golden question, “What’s on your Wish List?” When that circle of new friends found out Alan’s contract was only for one year, there was a resounding, “You better get busy!” Then it seemed that every time the women in this community get together the subject of the Wish List comes up. Where have you been? Where did you stay? What travel books do you use? What else do you want to see? How much time to you have left? How can you possibly see it all?
And when the faithful, lovely and prized four-day weekends come each month, church attendance is cut in half because people are working on their wish lists.
It was a great test of my will power to withstand the frenzy. I failed miserably some days. Thankfully I couldn’t do much about our wish list until a month ago when the pig finally went over the stile. I can only say thankfully in hindsight because it forced me to put my focus elsewhere for nine months. It’ll take a whole other blog post to write about the lessons of that gestational period, but for this post it’s mentioned as an expression of gratitude. The money promised came just in time for us to more fully enjoy our time traveling with my parents.
My dad emailed this single photo to the family as a preview of those to come, saying it summed up her reactions during the trip. It is a perfect representative of the countless pictures in my memory, let alone the thousands from four cameras.
Her reaction is the look I was hoping to see. Even though I expected it, I didn’t always know when it would show up. Her reaction made my heart leap for several reasons.
1. Mom’s back and knee problems worried me about the plans I made. Her ability to go and do and see all that she went and did and saw is amazing. Miracles really do happen today, my friends.
2. For someone who said not too many years ago “I never want to go to Europe,” Dad often had a sore neck from looking through the camera lens as he attempted to capture every moment. That I was there to witness him personally capturing the above reaction will be one of the greatest gifts of my life.
3. As Alan put it, Mom has a “childlike quality in her enthusiasm for life”. I would add that this quality infuses depth to the experiences one can share with her.
4. Even though he said, “Don’t let your mother see that!” and proceeded to place his body in front of the china on display of the antique store window, Dad’s kids know that would never be the end of the story–which is why the above photo exists; he pulled out his camera and then moved out of the way. Dad was ever the contributor to a successful 45th wedding anniversary trip to Europe. He constantly encouraged,
he physically supported,
and he initiated moments of romance and spontaneity,
he was well trained. Good job, Mom! Readers should take note that this is a good reason to wait until your 45th anniversary to walk with your spouse along the banks of the river Seine in Paris.
Just kidding, Dad, most of us know you were born that way.
Besides all that lovey dovey stuff, Alan and I were thrilled to have our own experiences with Paris, Germany and Austria!! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for adding to that thrill. We are so grateful you came and saw and lived your first foreign tourist moments as our traveling companions.
Thanks be to My Al for getting the whole experience started by taking this Army position. And I love you for riding “Under the Bridges of Paris” with me…again, this time in real life (insider’s note: we waltzed to the song at our wedding reception).