Yesterday I shared what was on my heart.
Today I’ll share my memory of yesterday. It’s quite comical, really.
First, let me say, this was the first year I woke up without the mindset of, “It’s Mother’s Day… I need a day off.” I believe in as many ways as possible, moms should have it easy on Mother’s Day. Next year I may wake up having returned to this mindset, but yesterday, I woke up with no expectations, no need for rest… I just woke up thankful and this wasn’t a decision I made. I just felt that way, and all day long I wondered what caused this shift in attitude and never pinpointed it, I just went with it.
I started the day by spending some time in my office (which, if you read yesterday, you know not to have any grand ideas about what this office is like). Here are some snapshots of what I was watching:
I arrived at church on time, mind you, though not as early as I would have liked, and dropped Anna off before heading upstairs to the sanctuary. Matt lead our service in a baby dedication which is always a special time. In a military community, it’s a different kind of special as we know that the people in the audience vowing to help raise the children being held by their parents won’t actually have the pleasure of helping to raise them, but will only be in the child’s life for a few years.
Once the ceremony was complete I headed downstairs to relieve a mom who was volunteering. A mom who is currently in the middle of the years I remember very badly needing Mother’s Day to be a day off. Or at least a day with less to do. (While I would have loved for her to stay and chat, I really did want her to go to the service!) She has five boys. Yep! I have extra amounts of love for this mama because there’s a “thing” between “boy moms.” I’ve been told that I still get to retain an honorary “boy mom” title even though we’ve added a girl because I did spend 15 years of my parenting journey in this exclusive club.
When I entered the nursery Anna, who absolutely loves her class, came to me and said, “Not leave me. Not leave me.” I love watching the maturing stages of children and keeping an eye on the stages of development, especially in light of adoption and making sure we’re doing right by Anna. She goes to class just fine, and runs to us when we come pick her up. Yesterday, when I went back to her class earlier than usual, she noticed something was off and stuck by me pretty closely for the first ten minutes. I literally drank in her wanting me. I don’t know how else to say that. I held her and absorbed her want. I assured her that I wasn’t leaving and was going to stay in her class today. When I had to put her down to tend to something else, I let her hold my finger as I said, “I’m not leaving. I’m staying.” When she got jealous that I was holding another kiddo, I pulled her onto my other knee and held them both. I’m still kind of surprised she let me hold them both… it could have gone sour. After a while she believed that I was going to stay and she wandered around a little more, but still she played on the half of the room I was in more rather than wandering around like she normally does. I was her “safe base” and she wanted to be near me. I loved every minute of being in the nursery… and lest you think I’m a saint, this is the first year in my parenting journey that I wanted to be in the nursery on Mother’s Day.
Now on to the comical part of our day… and hear me when I say, I am the guest in this country. I will adjust to the cultural expectations of this part of the country which are noticeably different from those of Wiesbaden. I also realize that here, especially in the city of Stuttgart with a vast array of other people groups represented, we have multiple cultures to navigate… So, we went to lunch at a restaurant I’ve been eying and excited to try. I didn’t make reservations because I wasn’t sure if Anna was going to be too “two-year-old” for eating out. After church she was still acting just fine so we loaded up our two cars and drove to a Greek restaurant. We walked in and no one was at the “greeting” desk so I opened the next door that opened into the actual restaurant part and saw a table full of people to my left, three waitresses standing behind the bar, and saw several tables empty. None of the waitresses spoke and all three looked me dead in the eye. It felt stupid to ask but it was the only thing I could come up with in the moment… I asked, “Are you open?”
When one said yes, I said, “seven people” in German and she pursed her lips and then asked if we had a reservation. I said no, and she looked down at her seating chart. “This is a problem” she replied in English… I’m guessing what we did would be the American equivalent of walking into Chili’s with a party of 60 with no reservation. No American would do that. We know that for large parties (10-15 or more) you really need a reservation or to at least call ahead to see if they could accommodate the group.
But seven? A single family? Again, I’ll learn the cultural norms here and will work with them, but we’ve been here a fairly short time and we’ve spent much of it in recovery (casts, surgery, etc). There’s my excuse.
Everything froze for a good 10 seconds before I finally said, “It’s okay. We’ll go somewhere else.” She said, “No. No. Come.” and by that point I was done. We were about to spend 100 euros on a meal and I was not going to do so in a place that was that harsh. I don’t think she did anything wrong, necessarily… I was definitely in the wrong for not having a reservation, but I just couldn’t spend that kind of money feeling as rejected and dejected as I felt at that moment.
We walked out as unobtrusively as a family of seven can (we felt all eyes on us) and stood in the parking lot for several minutes googling restaurants. It’s hard to find one open on Sundays in Germany.
I found one with good reviews and a cool name (Parker and I are reading a book with a character named the same as the restaurant). We drove 15 minutes, parked in an underground parking deck that was considerably farther from the restaurant than we originally thought (it wasn’t that far for walking-people but for those on crutches, it was too far…).
This was a German restaurant and we were greeted much more pleasantly than at the first, though his first words were, “You have a reservation?”
There was my second rebuke of the day.
“No, I’m sorry. Is that okay?” I asked, and he said, “One moment.” and went to check seating. He came back smiling and said, “It’s okay” and he seated us.
By this point Anna was getting “squirrely.” Spell-check is rebuking me with a red line under that word but I promise, there’s no better word to describe her. She wasn’t being ugly, disrespectful, whiny, but she was like a squirrel playing in the branches of a tree. There was no containing her.
We hadn’t brought the stroller because we thought we were closer to the restaurant than we were and after checking around, the waiter said they didn’t have one.
There was no way we were going to survive this meal with Anna the way she was so we left our second restaurant of the day. I apologize profusely, thanked him for trying to accommodate us, and scooped Anna up.
We walked out as unobtrusively as a family of seven can (we felt all eyes on us… again) and left Carson by the front door so he didn’t have to hobble back to the car. On the way to the parking garage I called a pizza place near our house and ordered four pizzas and five sides of fries.
Once at the garage we couldn’t find the Kasseautomat (first time in over three years in Europe that we spent more than a minute looking for the kasseautomat). I’m embarrassed to say it took us close to ten minutes to find it but we were successful. I stopped at the pizza shop and on the way home I ate my fries because it was Mother’s Day and I wasn’t going to eat soggy fries. If I was going to splurge and eat crap then I was going to have the tastiest fries I could find!
We ended up enjoying a much calmer lunch than had we stayed at the restaurant. That afternoon Matt and I watched a tv show and then I spent a few hours working on creating Anna’s two family trees.
Hayden found a near-by soccer field and asked if I could take him and Bailey while the rest of the family rested. I did and took along a book and enjoyed the cool breeze while they played. While there Bailey spotted a neat park with all sorts of fun activities.
We ended up going home and getting the rest of the family to play at the park. We had SO much fun. All seven of us rode the zip-line multiple times!
We tried to FaceTime with Mama Kim but she was at work so Anna and I recorded a video and sent it to her. This little girl cracks me up! (She loves to see herself in the phone… she is an entertainer!)
To close the night we watched the first half of Monster’s Inc. and all of us literally laughed out loud… especially at the part when Sully repeatedly faints when he thinks Boo went through the trash compacter.
It was a great day in spite of the “cultural learning experiences” we had. I love being a Mom. I am honored to be these kids’ mom… I am undeserving and I want to do the best by them.
Here are some photos from our evening at the park: