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My family is very German. By most accounts, about 95 percent. And our traditional family recipes are proof. Saurbrauten, roast pork, kraut, knefflies, and let’s not forget the German Chocolate cake!

So on my mom’s birthday–lucky June 13–I suggested we visit a German establishment filled with all the great things about our German way of life. She agreed and I set about making plans for the adventure.

My youngest sister and her family, my younger brother and his family, my parents and my daughters all set a course for the Hofbrauhaus in Cincinnati. Careful to be cognizant of the afternoon World Cup futbol match, I set our rendezvous time for 4:30PM.

Germany spanked Australia (4:0) right before we arrived.

And so we were set to enjoy our lunch in a celebratory environment, but one more calm than half an hour prior.

The polka band was in full glory and the smell of sauerkraut permeated the restaurant as we sat down to our menus. My daughters seemed under the impression that should they not like the authentic options, they would just order nachos or something.

My sister-in-law and sister and I giggled and tousled their heads at their innocent faith in restaurant choices. Then we began the difficult task of deciding what we would be eating…and drinking.

That’s when the first chicken dance started. My family, not having warmed up to the dancing in public atmosphere that I carry with me, chose to watch my rendition this time, and did so somewhat stiffly with mixed embarrassment and trepidation.

But the chicken dance is meant to be danced enthusiastically–especially at the Hofbrauhaus. And I’m not shy about dancing…or singing…in public. A fact my family knows well enough is part of my charm.

Deliberations over food took the better part of 20 minutes as the kids finally settled on Kinder Pizza, a few less-adventurous people at our table picked cheeseburgers and the rest of us were ready to feast.

Weinershnitzel, jagershnitzel, bierwurst, sauerbraten, pretzel sandwiches, spaetzel, apple kraut, fried cabbage, and many other delicacies were ordered and soon passed onto our table…and around the 13 of us. It was alternately quiet as people dug in and merry as other people tried and, perhaps, disliked the choices of others.

And when bellies started to fill, we were ready for the second chance at chicken.

That’s right, it was time for the second chicken dance of the afternoon. Perfect timing!

With my enthusiasm much more contagious now–primarily thanks to the free-flowing Pepsi and pilsner–I convinced my family to step up to the adventure and chicken dance with me.

Half of them joined me, which was better than the first time. And the embarrassed stares weren’t nearly as severe as the first time. But that’s okay. It never bothers me anyway. And I have complete faith in my ability to get all of them to dance the next time…

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We are all born with the first core need — Affiliation.  We need to belong, primarily to a family.

At some point when you’re a child, a very little child, you discover the second core need — Autonomy. You want to know that you’re important for who you uniquely are.  You leave your mother to explore your boundaries, but after a few minutes, you run back to her to ensure she’s still there.  And so you learn about rapprochement.

We’d like to believe that one day we set off completely free, never needing to return.  But that is, as my Canadian friends would say, an American dream pipe to smoke.  Afterall, they’re called core needs because they lie at the center of our sense of well-being; they drive our emotions, which, in turn, drive our choices; which, in turn, shape our lives.

To need others is not, as we in America like to fool ourselves, a weakness or a fault.  It’s humanity.

I relish in it as my daughters and I weave in and out of our little family affiliation in and around and through work, school, girl scouts, volleyball and soccer practices and games, dance class, making dinner together, playing with neighborhood friends, doing homework, doing laundry, choir, yardwork, etc.

It’s a constant mix of expanding and contracting, like a lung breathing.  Meg is outside pushing the extent of her boundaries while mixing it up with the neighborhood kids.  Kate is in her room listening to music on her iPod and reading a magazine.  And I’m working out, or meddling in the home arts.  At 8PM, though, they return to my side to snuggle into the next chapters of classic adventures.  They lean in close, and they relish in my watching out and caring for them.

While I relish in my greatest luxury–emulating the master of rapproachment herself.  Scheherezade, the storyteller divine.

I find rapprochement lovely.

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