We had planned on going for a little over a week, but ended up staying for two. For the majority of that time, Will was in the hospital, so this meant for our girls that they were surrounded only by German speakers. Vivian's German skills just blossomed; and she even ended up going to my old Kindergarten for a couple of hours to alleviate the boredom of being in Germany with my always dashing off to the hospital and none of her regular friends to play with. Vivian had such a great time, she was sad she couldn't stay for lunch with the other kids.
As an aside, just the other day, we had the following conversation:
Vivian: "Mommy, I really liked your Kindergarten. When we go back to Germany, can I go again"?
Me: "I don't think so. That was just an Ausnahme ("exception" - one of the German words that made it into our family's English vocabulary) because Daddy was in the hospital."
Vivian: "When we go to Germany, and Daddy goes to the hospital again ..."
Ah, the logic of a 4-year old :)
I then had to explain why we don't actually want Daddy to go to the hospital.
Since Will was in ICU for several days and Vivian couldn't come with me to see him, they started sending little videos back and forth (what did people do before smartphones?!) and telling each other knock-knock jokes. It was very cute!
Vivian started speaking German to pretty much everyone; my Mom, strangers on the street, my brother and his family, even Annelee. She still to this day pretty much refuses to speak any German with me, though. "Mommy, I'll speak German to you when I'm big."
Our super-clingy Annelee got comfortable enough with my Mom so that she could even get her out of her crib and spend time with her ... as long as I wasn't in the room and she didn't see or hear me ... once that happened, all was generally lost.
We got a spend extra time with Sebastian and Marion, and Vivian and Tobias got to play together. It would be so nice if they got the opportunity more often, but until a reliable teleporting process is developed, this is not going to happen too often, so we savor it when it does.
And then of course there's my Mom and I getting to spend extra time together, even though much of our downtime was taken up with my going to the hospital whenever the girls were napping.
In the evenings, I usually left before Vivian was in bed, so my Mom and Vivian even got to develop their own bed-time routine, too.
Here are a couple of photos taken during that time.
|Vivian and Omi picking some of the feathers from the flower decoration that was on the coffin. My cousin did the flowers and they looked fabulous, very natural, not your typical funeral flowers but just right for my Dad|
|My cousin incorporated a large number of feathers that my Dad had collected over the years and even added a little bird's nest. He would've loved that!|
|The urn. Those were real leaves in the material.|
|On the cemetery, near the spot where the urn is. A cold day. Yes, that is Annelee somewhere beneath those layers|
|Annelee with one of the feathers|
|The best of the bunch. The kids did not want to cooperate that day. Will is missing because he's still in the hospital|
|Omi and the grandchildren|
|I'm pretty sure this photo was NOT worth breaking a toe over. But, since I did I felt I at least needed to include the shot ;) And now I'm hungry for Bratwurst :(|
If you can't see the video above, click here.