Monday, October 18, 2010

Meeting the Parents

You've seen this before from when Astrid and I were in England this past April, taken at Chatsworth House, if that makes any difference...the seat of the Duke of Devonshire. So British. Actually, so English (we were corrected repeatedly). It's my favorite picture of us to date.

But I digress. When I post this today, Astrid and I will have been in Atlanta since Friday evening, visiting for almost 2 weeks while I'm on Herfst (autumn) vacation from school in The Netherlands. I wouldn't be posting today if it weren't for the fact it's my turn again at Vision and Verb, on Meeting the Parents...or When Your Children Have Two Mommies! I don't want you to miss that. It's the first time for my 2 kids and grandson, Nicholas, to meet Astrid, even though I've known her now for over 3+ years.

How it all goes (HA!) is something I'll post about after the fact: taking Nicholas to the same Fair he's been to since he was 2 (he's now 10!), carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds (an annual tradition), watching college football, going to Outback Steakhouse...our treat for all the birthdays we've missed. During this week (while Amy and Dennis work and Nicholas is in school) Astrid and I will be with recent retirees, Bob and Peggy, friends south of Atlanta, but will come back to be with the kids this coming weekend, up in the North Georgia mountains. That's the plan. Once we're back in Holland after the 27th, I'll work on sharing those posts.

In the meantime, there are two things to catch you up on from a week ago, back home in The Netherlands. First of all, Gorinchem's autumn Fair took place at the same Grote Kerk spot where the Monday market takes place and so many other things throughout the year...just 2 blocks from us. Talk about CLOSE, the things that are at our fingertips.

As fairs go, this one doesn't cover a lot of square feet but it sure packs a wallop. It amazes me how much can fit into such a small space. But then, that's like Europe in general and they're used to it.
(Remember to click on the image to enlarge it and then click again.)

I especially had fun watching the little fellow on the right (above) who reminded me of Nicholas when he was that age. Needless to say, our appetites were totally whetted for the Fair with Nicholas this past Saturday...which gets better every year as he gets older and older (now 10). In fact, he tried the same bungee ride for the first time ever and had a blast. And this time Astrid was his buddy on rides I wouldn't dare attempt. But as I said, that's another post to come.

Secondly, Astrid and I drove a week ago Saturday to nearby Ridderkerk, outside of Rotterdam, to watch Jeroen, Astrid's 22-year-old son, play tennis. It was a gloriously sunny day, cool, and very Fall-like. It so happens Jeroen was what we call "playing up" with a guy 2 levels higher than himself. So it would have been a miracle if he had won. He didn't win but it was still fun to watch him play:

First, the warm-up...

...and then the real deal.
Notice in the bottom left-hand corner (above) how they score the games and sets. The yellow balls indicate who has won what games in this particular set. Thus, the one on the left side of the court is up 4 games to 1 in this set. The red ball indicates he also has already won one set. It's actually pretty cool. At this level/match, there were no umpires, so the players kept track of their own scores...under close scrutiny, of course, of all their friends and relatives!

Tennis is a big deal for both Astrid and Jeroen. Here's a picture I took of them together back in June of 2008 when I watched them play against each other:

Jeroen is Astrid's only child. Like mother like son. Seriously. I adore him and have already spent umpteen times with him and his girlfriend, Eva. In fact, they're watching after our apartment while we're gone. Though it hasn't been easy for Jeroen to experience the break-up of his family, he has graciously received me as his mom's wife. He's become my second son.

Which takes me back to my Vision and Verb post today...and when our children meet the 'other' parents after break-ups and divorces. We all know it's not easy. No, it's NOT easy! And that's why we take any of the joys and happy moments we can get.

So far so good....


  1. This is a really nice tribute to an obviously-close mother and son. How wonderful that you have so warmly adopted him, Ginnie. More over at V&V. xo

  2. I like the collage of Jeroen playing tennis – it is very dynamic. I looked at the weather forecast and I think you will have good weather while in and around Atlanta. We just came back from New York where we had a great time and are on our way to another state. I am getting so many pictures that I don’t know what to post about anymore – should I go back to posting on Norway, continue with Savannah or get started on New York – so many choices. I bet it is the same for you. Have a wonderful time with your family and give a hug to Nicholas for me.

  3. What a lovely post! And the fair, we did go this year!!! Yeah finally... Can't wait for more!

  4. I love knowing you're on the continent! What a perfect time for you to visit, since you have so many autumn traditions with your kids. I have been picturing you all and loving what is in my imagination.

  5. Deborah: Astrid and Jeroen are very close indeed and share a lot of camaraderie. It's been very sweet to see. He's a real gentleman. I feel enriched to have him in my life.

    Vagabonde: The weather has been great thus far...a bit warmer than we expected but we can't complain. You are traveling around as much as we are...I declare! I know that feeling of decisions, decisions, decisions. I love it. :)

    ET: So glad you got to the fair! Ours is one of the best I've ever seen, so we just keep going back to the same one and are never disappointed!

    Ruth: This ends up being a better time than during the hectic holidays, so it really is perfect for all of us. I'd love to make it a yearly tradition for Astrid and me! :)

  6. I miss playing tennis - I haven't been doing this for like 1 year (but salying 'playing tennis', to be honest, is too much, when it comes to me). Seems like you had a lot of fun!

  7. Love seeing Jeroen playing tennis, I have spend many many hours at different courts, seeing him win and loose.
    We both love the game and playing him is a great treat.
    The Cumming Fair was a delight, Nicholas and I did do a lot of 'spinning around', that was fun!!!!
    We saw the Indian Village, they did a great job there.
    I feel fortunate to be welcomed dearly by Amy, Dennis, Mark and Nicholas, we had a great time carving pumkins, a thing I never had done before.
    Bob and Peggy I had met before, a delight to be back with them a few days too.
    To be short.......I am really enjoying myself.
    Wonderful post again, thanks for the collage of Jeroen, I will print it and frame it.

  8. Ola: Astrid misses it, too, now that she's a working lady. I wish she could play on a regular basis. (sigh)

    Astrid:: I know you miss playing tennis, as in the good ol' days before your job became a necessity. Maybe one of these days you can start playing at least once a week? That would be fun, maybe? I am loving seeing you in the midst of things here in Atlanta, seeing how things are done here. Thank you for being up for the challenge, meeting the kids, accepting the changes...all of it. I love you!

  9. The last picture is telling so much.
    I really love their outspoking faces.

    And I understand now very well your relationship.

    Hugs to all of you and thanks for all your nice comments.

  10. What a great welcome to America for Astrid! My DIL met one of my sisters(I have 2) but to say it did not go well is an understatement. A long story not meant for here. Let's just say that while you deal with your family and life as a gay person / couple , son and DIL are -hmmm I guess biracial? Something that never ceases to amaze me about people- family or not. Sigh. Oh well WE love her and that is all that matters. DIL(Rainey) carved her first pumpkin as well. She had lots of Finn I really enjoyed reading you other blog about your trials and loves. Lobed the tennis shots and both of you are very very lucky. Have a great visit here in the UDA/Atlanta!

  11. Tor: You know a lot and we're often on the same page, so thanks, my brother! :)

    Neva: So far so good! :) Right now we're south of the city with friends but starting tomorrow, Friday, we will spend a long weekend in the North Georgia mountains with the kids. We are really looking forward to it!!! I'm guessing bi-racial or bi-cultural marriages also have their issues, which is part of who we are, too. But that seems minimal in comparison to the sexual-orientation issues! But we all manage, don't we, especially when there's love. Love always wins.

  12. Welcome to the south - the weather couldn't be better. 70+ degrees today in NC! Lived in Northern MI the past 7 years and this is fabulous. The smiles on your faces are wonderful and I hope your visit continues to be LOVELY!

  13. water towers or windmills to photograph. What are our favorite subjects now? ...probably old churches... it will be fun to wait and see what you post. :)