Today would've been my Oma's 96th birthday if she was still alive. Being my dad's mother, I never developed the same type of relationship that I did with my other grandmother, my mom's mother. I don't know if it was their German upbringing or what, but they always saw things differently than I did, and not especially affectionate. She did show love in the form of food, one of the more subtle ways I suppose. She would always ask if we were hungry, telling us what she had made to eat, urging us to indulge that love even when we weren't hungry at all.
She was somewhat strict, but years later I came to understand that strictness was just a byproduct of the toughness that she needed to flee postwar Germany, and survive with 3 young boys and a sick husband in a country that hers had just recently signed surrender to. Her husband, my Opa, died a few years later, and she finished raising my father and his two brothers. The three boys had to grow up rather quickly, just to help their mother keep their house running. I guess they were all so busy trying to survive that they forgot how to tell each other that they loved one another, something they never really learned how to do openly.
This pic is from a few years before my Oma's death, gone four years now, surrounded by my children and nephews. It was during this period of her life that she would tell us of her struggles earlier in her life. She became more open and more affectionate, bringing to light the side of her that we'd never known. I'm thankful we finally got to see that part of her personality. I'm not nearly as outspokenly fond of my #German heritage as I am my Japanese, that's no secret. I'm certain that stems from the less than shallow bond I've had with my father and his family. I am proud to say that my German Oma was a true #American in the sense that she never gave up, and kept everything together as best as she could for her family.
Happy Birthday, Oma. 💜