I called my sons' mother last night (aka my ex-wife). It was the first opportunity for me to use the nifty speakerphone speaker in the kitchen, so that was a plus. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I also got some small pleasure out of waking her up early (there's an eight hour time difference, so it would have been approximately 6:30 her time). Hee hee.
She wants us to come for a visit this year (again). Not sure if I will go this time; although she nearly always insists that I escort Steven to make sure that he behaves around her. At some point, I will have to remove myself from the picture. I have done my best to help them understand each other, but he's 18 now. If they still haven't learned to respect each other's boundaries and to get along nicely (without me there as a peace-keeper), then perhaps they never will. I hope they can work it out. They have been getting along much better over the last few years than they ever did before, but I still have doubts. I see so many similarities between them, and I think they could develop a deeper bond, but up until this point, they haven't really gotten to know each other (sadly for both of them, she left before he was old enough to talk). They both count on me to keep the conversation flowing, and I do so because I want them to learn to get along, but I can't always be there to play that role; they need to work it out for themselves.
Anyhooo. Nice conversation. Steven's half-brother is learning English at school, so the two of them got to speak to each other without an interpreter (first time!) Between his brother's English and Steven's German, a casual observer might have had a hard time understanding them, but they understood each other just fine.
I get the feeling that Steven will eventually move to Germany, just so he can get to know them better. He was born there, and I've done my best to teach him about the culture just in case he decided to go back one day. (I haven't done a good job at teaching him German, but he knowsenough now to make it easy if he chooses to study it later on).
Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed in Germany when my military career was over (I had the choice). I probably would have gone to college, become an engineer, stayed married to her, had a couple more kids, and purchased a motorcycle (BMW of course) . I'd be a big, fat, beer-drinking Bavarian. Yep.
Instead, I decided to move back to the USA, where I feel even more like a stranger. (Please understand that I love America, but sometimes I wonder if the people of this country will ever learn to love and honor each other the way that older cultures do).
All in all, I have no complaints. Things happen for a reason. Being here was good for me. I wanted to give my son a stable childhood, and I did that. He's a good kid.
Which reminds me ... Steven got his first job this week! He's going to be a security guard at the local sports arena (believe me, he's well-qualified for the role). Kinda makes me proud and relieved and a little sad all at the same time. My baby is almost grown.
I'll have to think about the trip to Germany. It would be fun if I could bring my fantasy girlfriend (have you ever slept in a castle, princess?), but the chances of that happening are extremely slim. Maybe I'll send Steven to Germany, while I go to Mexico. Now that sounds like a vacation!