Family Days

Saturday turned out to be quiet for me and Oma. We talked when she was awake and I read or played on the computer when she slept. I also made dinner for Joyce and Arij and Oma and me as they were working at the old house again and it is quite tiring. There is a lot of work to do on a house that has been lived in continuously for 50+ years. I understand Thomas got to use a Scouting skill and cut down one of the old trees in Oma’s garden. Anyway, by the end of the day they were not quite finished but very close. But emotionally and physically they were all pretty worn. So it was nice for me to be able to do something to help. Just hamburgers and fries and some corn but a bit of American flavor for their evening. Seems to have been well-received.

Sunday was Easter but Oma was not feeling up to going to church so we all ended up staying home. Then we drove to Eindhoven where my Uncle Jim and Aunt Ingrid live. Their two sons, Thomas (named for Opa) and Maarten, were also there with their respective girlfriends. Ben and Sandra also came a little later in the evening (just in time for food actually!) Thomas did the honors for the satay – babi and kambing – beef and goatsmeat. Goat is not actually common in Holland but is popular in Indonesia. Fortunately, there is a Muslim butcher near Jim’s so they are able to get it. (I’m not a fan btw.) Jim, Ingrid and Joyce did the rest of the cooking. A really nice Indonesian meal. We sat outside in the unseasonably warm (well, for the Netherlands) and talked. Got quizzed a lot about California and encouraged to move to the Netherlands where there are no earthquakes and wild fires. 😉

After dinner we got everyone around for a nice family photos session.

From top left, Maarten's girlfriend, Maarten, Jim, Arij, Petra, Thomas - second row Sandra, me, Oma, Joyce and Aunt Ingrid. Front row Sam and Snooker. ;-)

From top left, Maarten's girlfriend, Maarten, Jim, Arij, Petra, Thomas - second row Sandra, me, Oma, Joyce and Aunt Ingrid. Front row Sam and Snooker. 😉

When it got too cold we moved back indoors and chatted until it got late and we headed back home to Goudswaard.

Unfortunately the day was probably a bit too much excitement for Oma. She had a very bad night, getting up several times with trouble breathing. Joyce came upstairs to let Ben and Sandra (who had stayed the night) and me know what was going on and that we would be curtailing events for the day. We had a very quiet brunch while Oma slept. It was a very somber morning. Everyone was feeling sad and I think just about everyone there had a bit of a crying session. I know I did. It’s very hard. She is a strong and wonderful woman and the depth of the love of her children and grandchildren for her as her days are waning is a testament that. But it is heartbreaking nonetheless.

Ben, Sandra, Sharon and I decided to take a bit of a drive to Willemstad, a fortified city not far from Gousdwaard. It is a lovely placing dating back to the 1500s, built on orders from William of Orange and finished by his son Prince Maurits. Much of the city is still intact although the gates are gone as well as the barracks. It is an officially protect Dutch historical site and as such is well-visited. On this sunny holiday, it was quite busy. We started with a walk along the walls.

netherlands-trip-6-006

Sharon, Ben and me behind D'Orangemolen (Willaim of Orange windmill)

Sharon, Ben and me behind D'Orangemolen (Willaim of Orange windmill)

Me and my cannon

Me and my cannon

The city was built in a star pattern with ramparts at each of the points. There are seven in all named for the seven provinces that at the time of the city’s founding made up the Republic of the Netherlands. There are also bunkers that where built by the Germans.  There are also sheep. (Note the undocked tails.)

netherlands-trip-6-034

After  our walk around the perimeter of the city,  we ducked into the Mauritshuis museum just in time to get a couple of minutes at the gift shop. Tried to see the church but it is apparently only open to visitors on Saturdays. Strolled down one of the main streets trying to find a place to have a drink but of course all the tables in the sun were taken. Settled on one that was not in the sun and ordered hot drinks but the wind was very cold so we didn’t linger.

Headed back to the house and Oma was doing a bit better. Joram and his new girlfriend had arrived by then as well as Ezra, Marijke and the kids. Oma was sitting up and talking with everyone which was nice. We had a subdued but very warm family dinner. Joyce had cooked up a storm (more Indonesian FTW!) and we all enjoyed that. We called Paul as well so he got a chance to talk with Oma a little (though her hearing is not good so it’s hard to talk to her on the phone) and Joyce and the cousins as well, which was nice for him. He’s sad not to be able to come but I must say I am proud that he takes his responsibilites at work so seriously.  Between chatting and showing off pictures – and off course Auntie Janice’s obligatory service as Ester’s walker – the evening passed quite nicely.

So, again, to my family who is so wonderful – I try to tell you all in person but for the record, thank you so much for providing such wonderful hospitality, for bending over backwards to give me time with Oma and to share time with all of you. It is a very precious blessing to be with you, my family, who gives so much love even when we see each other so little. And I know Darren thanks you as well for taking such kind and good care of me.

And of course, my deep gratitude to my dearest Darren for also letting this be possible. I love you, deeply, madly and more! 😉

Well, it is late and I should add some pics and get some sleep. Om Jim comes tomorrow and we will see how Oma is doing.

Many blessings and much love to all.

Petra and Thomas giving Oma flowers.

Petra and Thomas giving Oma flowers.

Still-life with Easter eggs and Tulips

Still-life with Easter eggs and Tulips

Oma and me

Oma and me

Ben and Sandra

Ben and Sandra

I love this pic of Sharon

I love this pic of Sharon

Share

One Response to “Family Days”

  1. Heather says:

    Don’t know why, but I’m constantly amazed by how much you like your Oma. I’m sure you’ve heard it before (or said it yourself).

Leave a Reply