Sunday Column (274)

This week was a “back to the roots” week. Back to work, busy days, lots of progress, having fun. Yet, as so often, I am thinking of my boys and found this amazing song by German artist Reinhard Mey. I must have listened to it a hundred times but only this week the meaning became really clear to me. I am not alone with my feelings, balancing work and family, yet enjoying both!

Vaters Nachtlied (Father’s Lullaby)

The translation goes roughly like this:

I’m sorry, I could not come home sooner,
We had a difficult negotiation at work, man oh man, lasting until after eight!
Well, you took Benno Bear and Fritz Fuchs to bed
And Cookie Monster too? I have thought a lot about you.
Were the grandparents over, has it been a good day?
And you blackmailed your mother again for an ice cream?
And I? Oh, I’ve only read the stock market report,
and whilst doing that I was thinking about, how I can glue your boat.

Then Doctor Schulze-Wüstefeld invite me for a working meal,
I moved from “one bum cheek to another”
There was “spicy venison stew,” how gladly would I have instead
Had a bratwurst with you and sucked licorice.
Then I completely forgot to laugh at a joke,
Which Senator Kühn thought was very funny,
I was probably just thinking about beating eggs for pancakes
meanwhile one has chosen me for the board of directors.

It is true indeed, since I am here, not only have the balance sheets improved,
the growth rates are doubled, and the index rose.
Today would have been the day to repot our pumpkin,
And then I would have liked to show you how to sow radishes.
Maybe I landed my biggest deal today,
Perhaps the major order of which the whole company dreams,
But certainly, I have not sung with you at bed time,
And a day that never comes again, I failed to be with you.

Now the regular reader knows two things about me. I enjoy working and if I hadn’t had family I would probably do that all day. The other is that I have family and love being with them, trying to be a good dad. Balancing those two powers can be difficult at times, so days like the one I listen to in the song make me think: about both sides! I am not alone with my feelings, it is totally normal and I get a lot of reassurance from the song and speaking to other dads. I guess it is “back to work” this week, a full on one but really enjoyable one too.

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This week we also got a delivery of logs for our wood burner. It might sound funny but I felt like a child. It was exciting to stack wood for my own stove, making sure we have enough for the winter, which actually I am not. It Is only June and the weather should get warmer before it gets colder, but hey, it is an exciting thing to do. A bit of self sufficiency, independence. Roll on winter, or before that our camper van trip, Hippy, self sufficiency, independence. Roll on the 60ies 😉

There has been one other thing on my mind. And I try not to elaborate on it too much. Friday marked the 70th anniversary of D-day. This is a long time since Britain and the US invaded occupied France to free it from Germany. It has been a dark chapter in Europe, Germany in particular, but it also is history.

Speaking with my 5 year old, asking whether they discussed D-day in school, he said yes. Not that he would really understand. Understand that he is living in a free Europe, being half Scottish (and don’t get me started on the independence campaign there) and half German), growing up in England, and that the privilege to live in a peaceful Europe is down to the brave men who fought in the war. The allies, yet also the resistance in Germany and other countries. But foremost thanks to the guys who on Friday remembered their comrades and all fallen in the Second World War.

Without those I would not be sitting here, working in London, enjoying what I have. I am grateful for that. Grateful for the freedom, peace and opportunity we as a generation need to understand where it is coming from, accepting and remembering the past but letting go of it at the same time.

I think this is a good way of closing this week’s blog. A bit sentimentality about love and war. About how life really is and that there is always something better, something greater, and more opportunities to grasp. Yet, not ever to forget the opportunity we have today, being grateful for what we have. That counts.

Buddha bless.
Volker