8.9.11

A Growing Family

Back in July I took a flight with the Saffa for the weekend to London for a special visit. We were going to meet this children. The Saffa, like me, is divorced and, unlike me, had two children in his first marriage. I had to get permission from the doctor to make the flight as I was past the airline cutoff but it was a trip that we really wanted and needed to make. Since things had moved so fast with us, practically nothing fell in quite the right sequence in our relationship so it was not the first time we found ourselves moving outside of what well-established protocol dictates. At times that has been unsettling but not because I ever felt insecure or unhappy about us directly. It was more the impact on those around us that I was concerned about.

 And nothing was more concerning to me than the impact on his kids. The Saffa's son is 15 and his daughter is 14 so not young but not adults yet either. He had been open with them about us and what was going on from the start. It took some time for them to process and eventually accept the situation. Throughout the spring and summer, the Saffa split his time between Munich and London, which I fully supported and encouraged. As the time passed, we decided it was time to meet.

We arrived in London on Friday evening and settled into a hotel nearby and got ready to spend the day together on Saturday. I think the most nervous one was the Saffa on Saturday morning. I had no expectations and decided I needed to just take it all in stride, however it went. At their age and given that they live with their mother, there was no expectation from any of us that I act as a mother to them. In fact, it was requested that I not try to play that role. Cool family friend or aunt would be my ideal. 

We pulled up to the house and the Saffa's daughter approached us from across the street with their dog that she had been out walking. She avoided eye contact and chatted with her father before going into the house to finish getting ready. We walked into the hallway and his son came downstairs and said hello and told us we were early. Eventually they got ready and we made it out of the house and off to town. We had decided to see the final Harry Potter together and before then to do some window shopping and have a Starbucks together. Slowly we all warmed up a bit and got to chatting. To be honest, at that age, I think kids in general prefer to be with their own kind than any adults so conversation topics were a bit start and stop and sporadic.

Nevertheless, by the time we went to the movie the ice had been broken. After the movie we went out for dinner and a little more shopping and then dropped the kids off so they could get ready for the Saturday evening plans. We drove off and I could see the Saffa was pleased how it all went and I was glad we had all more than survived the first meeting. I like his son's sense of humor and while a bit shy at first he opened up and was fun to talk to. His daughter is a real firecracker and is an excellent rugby player and thinking about becoming a lawyer. I love that they both have his big blue eyes.

A couple of weeks ago we brought them over to Munich for a long weekend. It was probably more fun for us than them but was a nice visit and we showed them around Munich in the sweltering heat, took them to their first beer garden and generally tried to keep them entertained. It was great spending some more extended time with them and hope they will be frequent visitors in addition to the time the Saffa and at times Pea and I will spend in the UK. They are coming to the US for a week after Christmas to spend time with us there and we have plans for them!

I still have concerns about the Saffa being around for them enough while being based here but I am hoping we all can find the right balance. They are great kids but still need both of their parents around at this stage in their lives. Ah, modern families!

Posted from Munich

2 comments:

G in Berlin said...

Congratulations!

Expat Traveler said...

Wow - that's great. Sounds like you did things right at least from a reading perspective...