Today is Oma’s 80th birthday
I see clear blue eyes; gentle and understanding
Lined face – mapping memories
She carries wisdom expressed and untold
Laughter transforms her and provides a glimpse of her past,
sparkling eyes and a bit of mischievousness
She crossed the Atlantic 60 years ago leaving behind tulips,
windmills, a bustling urban center in Rotterdam, her loving parents
and her younger sister.
They had a thriving general store and sold milk delivered by horse-drawn
carriage on the cobblestone streets.
Piano, accordion, merriment at family gatherings; she was willing to leave that behind and travel to an unknown foreign land
a place of mystery
follow her young love
The power of youth!
Dirt floors and a hard life awaited her
She grew to love this land that opened her eyes to adulthood
She didn’t turn tail and return home but chose to raise her family here
and etch a new life
Each success, each set back, each step forward
reflected in the wrinkles that line
her beautiful face and hands.
What stories does she carry? The hard earned lessons that only experience can teach; the lessons of the heart – disappointments masked,
happy moments cherished, proud moments multiplied.
Her Dutch accent commands attention when she speaks
it is both familiar and foreign at the same time.
She is matriarch of a growing family:
children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren
As life begins to assess its ransom through loss of physical mobility
Her mind remains sharp, continuing to enjoy new discoveries and revelations through the youngest branches of her heritage.
Surrounded by children she beams with happiness
And nothing feels as good, as warm, as comforting,
as being wrapped in a hug
surrounded by Oma’s strong arms