This weekend, we grew a bit as a family.
On Saturday, Karsten’s sister was getting married, so we packed our stuff, took the train and went to Münster, Germany. It is an 9 hour journey from our place to Münster, so doing this trip on Thursday, being there for two days and doing the same journey back on Sunday sounded a bit frightening. Especially because whenever we told someone with children about this weekend, the person suddenly showed this pitiful expression, normally followed by a comment such as “9 hours on a train with a toddler….good luck!”. The fact that the trains didn’t have a family compartment but that we had to stay in a nonsubdivided compartment didn’t help. We wanted to do this anyway because apart from the happy occasion it was also the only (and maybe last) chance that the little one would finally meet her great-grandmothers.
And what can I say….we had such great weekend! The little one exceeded our hopes every day. The train ride on Thursday felt like a miracle. Not only was the little one in an extremely good mood, but we were also lucky and had very nice travel companions who were flirting with her and made it very easy to entertain her. Even the conductor was cheerful and happy, which is indeed a miracle on a German train. It didn’t even matter that much that changing diapers in a train-restroom is one of the most disgusting things to do.
The days in Münster turned out to be extremely relaxing for us. With so much family around, there is always someone to play with the little one, and since it was very exhausting for her to meet so many new people and places, she slept quite a bit during the days too (just not in the morning, but we won’t complain about that). We had asparagus for lunch (mmmh), coffee and strawberry cake in the afternoon (mmmmh), walks along the canal, feeding ducks, playing in the sand, relaxing moments in the garden. On Friday evening, Karsten put the little one to bed (the second time we tried this and again it worked out perfectly fine) and I joined the family for a get-together at a pizzeria. In return, I took the evening duty on Saturday so that Karsten could join the wedding dinner at a restaurant.
The wedding itself was beautiful with just the family and a few friends. After the ceremony we went to a small moated castle for the reception and coffee and cake later in the afternoon. It’s the birthplace of Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, a German poet from the 19th century which I personally like very much. The location was perfect for a wedding reception, being surrounded by a huge park and many old trees. One of the most relaxing moments was when I went outside with the little one and all the chattering and the background noise suddenly changed into complete silence, just interrupted by the sounds of all the birds in the big trees. Beautiful!
On Saturday, the little one was pretty overwhelmed by all the new family members, but she was still doing fine (in fact, I think only Karsten and I noticed it because we know that she would normally laugh more often). And the return journey to Zurich on Sunday was long, but again our fear that we will spend 9 hours on the train with a grumpy toddler didn’t come true. We were all knocked out in the evening, but glad we decided to do this trip! With every challenge like this we grow as a family, we learn how to do things, what can be done (and what can’t) and what we can expect from the little one. And we again realise that she is a pretty awesome child (the most awesome child in the world, but that’s just the opinion of a proud mother ;-)).