I know that I have been lucky in life. Whenever I go back home and see my parents, my grand-parents, I am aware that not everybody had the chance to grow up surrounded by family.
When I was four, my parents moved into the farmhouse of my dad’s parents. I cannot remember being one day alone at home before the age of 14. It felt very weird then. One of my first memories of my granny K was making cake with her. She would pour one ingredient after the other in a bowl while I had to stir it. Of course I had the right to lick out the remaining dough.
It sure was not always easy for my parents to live with my grandparents in one house. My grandpa K could be quite a stubborn, hard man. But then again he would take us kids – my sister and me – with him in the garden, in the barn, or give us a hot potato that was actually cooked for the pigs.
In the kind of village it was, my sister and I were free to roam as much as we wanted from the day I was able to read a watch. Being home on time was the only condition. Amazingly enough, we didn’t do that much mischief. Probably also because there was always one neighbour or the other close by and sometimes my parents knew about what we had done before we had a chance to confess.
I also remember the day it snowed so much, my sister and I were able to build an igloo; or the many evenings we drove to the closest lake for swimming; the games and fights with the neighbourhood kids… It was a time of light heartedness; of safety, of love.