Two years ago, today I flew to California from Germany with my daughter Sarina.
Towards the future we still dream about:
Together with five young people, she would move to Mulberry Village in Santa Rosa.
A unique place for young people like her needing support and extra time to find their place in life. Think of high functioning autism spectrum. Only for better understanding but don't limit it to this. Labels never work.
Mulberry Village would open its doors six months after we arrived.
The universe aligned and dropped another gift in our hands. Santa Rosa Junior College offered a 6-semester college track for students like Sarina. The celebration we cooked up for her being admitted lit up our faces and the sky.
College would start at the same time she'd move to Mulberry Village.
To go to college was Sarina first wish in life, right next to a boyfriend and a nest of her own.
Can you imagine how we felt? Yes, we thought we won the lottery. Moving us all back into one country was, of course, no piece of cake but it was necessary.
And all three of us said: YES!
After living in the U.S since 1986, Sarina was born a micro preemie in 1990, we couldn't find a program for her after she finished high school. We decided to move back to Germany in 2012. We wanted to help Sarina gain more independence and be closer to our families. In 2015 Jochen and I moved to Texas for work. Sarina stayed in Germany to finish an occupational program where she also lived in a group home.
Believe me, I loved my empty nest. I had planned for it for a long time. But living an ocean apart? That was not the plan!
I have a lot to say about plans in life...but keep that for later😌.
We suffered daily morning heartaches knowing she was so far away. And felt rocks crashing down at us as we realized her living situation did not support her.
It also affirmed how strong Sarina is - she did not complain at all.
The parents creating Mulberry Village went through the same hunt for a program for their son as we did. I know its part of a special parent to take extra steps to support our children.
Not finding what they wanted, they created Mulberry Village.
You must know Sarina is very eager to engage in life with dreams all young people have. She has a zest for life. Living at home was not an option for her. Quite the opposite. She wants to belong to her peers. But living alone is not an option either. Her hiccups (that’ s how she calls her challenges) prevent her from doing so.
Living under one roof again was as much a compromise for her as for us. I spare you who difficult it can be... But for this opportunity, it was worth the scarify.
And - we would manage for six months. ✋🏼 to 💗!
Parents like us don't have many choices. Unless we agree to something most of us can't accept. One, living in supported living institutions where our precious young adults live in the shadows of life (we have tried). Two have our adult kids live at home.
Living at home? Until when?
I'm writing a book about my journey with Sarina. The subtitle will be:
I WILL NOT DIE UNTIL MY DAUGHTER BELONGS.
Think about this.
Moving us from Texas and Sarina from Germany to California? - how could we not have done it?
How this plan fell apart is still a mystery to me.
In October of 2017, days before she would move to Mulberry Village, it did not get the last license needed to open its doors.
Even typing this now tugs at my heart.
The founding parents gave up. They had invested more than their share to make this happen. They sold this magical place.
With it the training facilities for woodwork and bicycle repair. The wildflower garden (Sarina would make plant dyes) and so much more.
Oh, not to forget we had included a class for healthy lifestyle (you know who would run this one!🤸♂️).
The journey from there to where we are now was a very difficult one. I'm thinking:
Is this plan Y? And Z is on the horizon?
I’m choosing to not think about Sarina’s age or mine. I’m thinking we will make this work! Asking for help from all directions.
Dear Universe, please shower us with plan Z. We're ready!
Sarina thrives in college, but it's only a two-day week for her. What can a young woman like her do who feels tied to her parents? What can we do to untie her?
I don't have the answers yet.
There are many stories to share how I roll out projects to support her to have meaning in life. She is a fantastic knitter, sells her hats to support her Taxi rides to town (a piece of independence for her). We're creating a website right now:
It will offer a glimpse into her life, what she creates and sells and her translation services. Oh, and her Truth Drops. They are dynamite.
Language is her gem. She edits my writing often but rolls her eyes telling me: "Mschen, how about your independence?"
Sarina now carries a sadness, telling us she has no direction in life. I can only patch up this truth by ensuring her we understand and keep searching. I trust in her strong spirit and into the abundance of joy she owns and shares. There must be a plan for her.
It takes a willingness to make the next step when I want to give up. But my mantra is:
The next step, like the next breath, is always possible.
My surrender muscle has grown, and so my belief in who else I am but the mother to my child. For the time being we’re inviting young women from Germany to live with us to be Sarina’s companion. It works. I can free up some time to do what I love and tend to my marriage.
I share my tools from my inspiring work and life as a yogi with parents like me and everyone wanting to thrive no matter what.
We need to have soul nourishing self-care in our life to feel the most important thing at all. It's called:
and Self-Care gifts us with Self-Love. 💗
If we show up to this truth, our cup will not be empty. No matter the obstacles.
What's on my daily schedule?
I hop on my 🏝Tiny Islands* to walk my talk every day.
Need Inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter to bet a weekly support.
Embrace What's Possible!
Always with Love,
Manuela Rohr is a writer and Yoga teacher/therapist BDY/EYU, C-IAYT. With roots in Germany she now lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Rosa, CA. She is the mother of a micro preemie girl and shares her healing journey in her blogs and teachings. She shares her transformational Yoga and Mindfulness lessons in workshops and private sessions. She offers support for special moms in her private FB group.