My goddaughter Anna turns eight today. There are many wonderful things about her but that is not what this post is about. This post is about one of my dearest friends Silvia, about a promise she made and kept.
I met Silvia about fifteen years ago. Her husband was part of the team that I worked with at that time. Silvia worked in the same company too and her office happened to be two doors away from mine. One thing led to another and we became very good friends. Interestingly I also got to know her colleague Helga at the same time, who became a very dear friend too and I have talked about her in another post. But I digress….
The year before I met Silvia had been a very difficult one for me. I had had to terminate a pregnancy, I had learnt that I would have to work for at least another ten to fourteen years to pay off debts that were not mine which meant that the choice to have my own children was taken away from me (being a working woman and a mother in Germany was not an option that I had at that time!). Needless to say, I was struggling and trying to cope with the unfairness of it all. One evening Silvia, Helga and myself were out for dinner and as we got talking, I opened up to them about my pain and struggle. Silvia and Helga were both deeply moved and after trying to find solutions for me, they both realised too that I didn’t have any other option than to trust God in spite of everything and to accept the fact that my life would be different than what I had dreamed it to be. It was then that Silvia spontaneously made a promise to me – she told me that if she ever had a child, I would be his/her godmother. (Silvia had just got married the year before and had not even started to plan or even think of having children).
The following year the company that we were working with went bankrupt and we all moved on to new jobs with different companies. Our friendship however grew even deeper over the years although we three now worked for different companies and had jobs that kept us very busy. We met often, went out for dinner, inline skating and cross country skiing…
Seven years later Silvia was pregnant. Since it hadn’t been easy for her to conceive, I practically knew about her pregnancy from day one. Even though I had moved to Stockholm earlier that year, we spent hours on the phone and Silvia told me all about her scans, tests etc as the pregnancy progressed. So I was very much part of it all.
Anna was born on 19th October 2008 and we were in Thailand at that time. I remember the excitement, the long distance phone call, listening to all the details and being so happy that all had gone well. I met Anna for the first time a month later and was thrilled to finally hold this little wonder girl in my arms. Anna was a very happy and content baby, laughing a lot and hardly ever cried. When I held Anna for the first time I was so aware of how special she was and how the bonds of love and friendship between Silvia and me had now deepened even more.
I was traveling a lot at that time and yet we kept in touch over the phone no matter where I was. Silvia kept me updated on everything that Anna did – her first words, steps, sicknesses, actions……..
It was a bit of a challenge to find a date for Anna’s christening since I was traveling all over the world. It was also a bit complicated since Silvia is catholic and I am protestant but Silvia stood firm and found a way around all the formalities. So in May 2009 , I officially became Anna’s godmother. I remember crying helplessly sometime during that day on Silvia’s shoulder – I have very seldom experienced someone promising me something and keeping their word! But eight years later here I was – godmother to a lovely little girl!
Most of my friendships in Germany didn’t stand the test of time, my travels and distance. Many could not understand or fathom the changes in me over the years and so I lost contact and touch with many. Not so with Silvia (and Helga)! She has watched me grow and blossom with
pride, laughed with me and cried with me, listened to me patiently and without judgement, been there for me emotionally when she couldn’t be there physically and I know that her home and heart are always open for me, with no strings attached whatsoever. When I lived in Stockholm, Silvia and Helga with baby Anna spent a weekend with me. We also spent a girls weekend together in Stockholm last year celebrating Silvia’s 40th. They both love the city and can well understand why it has become home for me.
Over the years, I have watched Anna grow into a lovely and charming young girl. Being the eldest of three (her sisters followed very quickly) she is very independent and responsible, generously sharing her things with her younger sisters. In fact I have to watch out that I get time with her alone since she is not demanding in any way and
takes a back seat since her sisters obviously want to spend time with “their ” godmother (the younger ones are convinced that I am their godmother too since they are used to sharing things with Anna!).
Silvia and I are quite different in some ways and she is genuinely happy that I can show Anna things or sides to being a woman that she cannot. As she says, we complement each other in so many ways and she hopes that together we can inspire and help Anna grow and develop – as a woman and as a human being.
So today is a day where I am especially thankful for my dear friend Silvia and for the way she kept the promise she spontaneously made to me in a Mexican restaurant in the Bavarian countryside all those years ago. And Anna is the living proof that people make promises and keep them even if the fulfilment of the promise is years after the promise was made.
Happy birthday Anna – I am so happy and thankful to be a part of your life!