"It was a cold New Year's Day and very early in the morning. Papa had to go back to the war, and we were all sad to see him getting his things together. He had been home recovering for a while, and we were so happy to have him back with us. It seemed, for just a short while, that things might get back to normal. Papa was so frail, weak and emaciated when he came home, that we almost didn’t recognize him. Now he had gained some of his strength back and a few pounds and, in Hitler's Germany, that was good enough to go back to war. The snow began falling early, and as Papa turned and waved to us one last time with flakes falling around him, we didn't know that it was the last time we would ever see him." I’ve been working on penning my Cute Little German Mother's story over the past year or so. Accounts such as this leave me feeling even more in awe of her strength. Over the past few years, although her will is as strong as ever, her body has betrayed her and even the simplest of tasks is becoming hard work. My Little Cutie has moved to my sister's house in Kingwood. We moved her at the beginning of the year, so she could have someone with her to help out during the day. My sister is home during the day, so it seemed the best plan for all. And although there is some degree of relief on my part, I miss her. She's been transitioning pretty well, and I did my best to make her new room look as much like the old one as I could. I pick her up on Wednesday evenings and usually take her out to eat ... we work on her story after, when time permits. On Sundays, I pick her up again and I cook dinner. Most times, if the kids are all there, we all eat together and it's a nice visit. Sometimes one or more of them are not home, but she and I still have a good time. Sunday. I set her up in a chair on the porch so we could visit while I planted some new color in the front garden. Most of the flowers I had planted in the fall didn't fare too well from the freeze. I have so many memories of her in the garden. She has always loved getting in the dirt and then seeing the fruits of her labor perform with splendid color and fragrance ... something I did not inherit. Now it's not for lack of effort, but I just don't have her gift. She sat in her chair and offered her advice on what to put where. She told me that the farmer in her still wanted to plant, but she just couldn't do it anymore. "I vish I could help," she said. "Well, you are helping," I said. "I would be putting these in all the wrong places without your help." She admired her rose bush which, of course, was still thriving despite the freeze. "Oh, dat is getting ready to bloom again, isn't it?" she said. "I miss seeing dat." "I'll plant you a new one outside your window," I countered, guilt swelling. "It won't be da same," she said. "And I don't vant any new plants over dere." I guess she is right. One thing is for sure in this life, and that is that nothing stays the same. Sometimes the changes are happy ones. Some are sad. And others fall somewhere in between. She enjoyed the smell of the new dirt and looking at the results. We had a nice visit in the garden, followed by some great fajitas that my son grilled. She went to her old room and looked out the window at the tulip tree I planted for her. It was in full bloom. "Oh, look at dat ... it misses me," she said. Indeed, I think it just might.

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