The main advantage of lacking a relationship with your parents is the freedom that comes with it. When you receive nothing, nothing can be taken from you. And as soon as you break the vicious circle of copying the patterns that formed the dysfunctional relationship you used to have with your genitors (in my case that meant reaching for the non-available), you have all the freedom in the world to build your own family, patch it together with friends, siblings, grandparents and finally the love of your life and your own offspring.
Through the years, I accumulated an array of much loved people I know I can fall back on should hell break loose. The only problem with these folks is the distance I have to travel to see them all. During the past week, we clocked up another 1,500 miles on mostly German roads to exchange hugs, kisses, have a glass of wine and another hug before hitting the road again.
First stop Wesel at the river Rhine to see my grandma, who is 94 today and much more alert than most of the people half her age. I hate this town and all the memories that come with it. I hated it when my parents moved the family there, and I still hate it with passion. Sorry, Wesel. As sad as it was to say goodbye to granny – I was relieved to get back into the car and drive down to Munich.
Ah, Munich. Home of the Pretzel and the Bratwurst. Where the beer flows faster and the clocks tick slower. The beauty of this town: nothing ever changes. It can drive you mad when you live there, but coming back to Munich will always feel like coming home to me. Seeing the girls was just brilliant. As if I’d never moved away. I would give the world to have them closer to me.
After about 1,000 miles alone with little L in the car, I was more than happy when Big M arrived in Munich to join us on our return trip. They say absence make the heart grow fonder. I am not a huge fan of the saying, but this time there was some truth to it. I missed him so much, especially when I had to leave granny behind in the disliked town. Not being able to look for comfort in Big M’s arms made me physically sick.
On our way back, we stopped in Frankfurt and crashed at my brother’s new place. He just moved in with his gorgeous girlfriend. Seeing my brother so content and happy makes me happy in return. We took different turns in our lives, but we seem to be on the same road again.
My self-made family may be a bit patchy here and there. But it feels beautifully complete.