Excerpt from They Are My Children, Too by Catherine Meyer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

They Are My Children, Too

A Mother's Struggle for Her Sons

by Catherine Meyer

They Are My Children, Too by Catherine Meyer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Apr 1999, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

In 1994, Catherine Laylle Meyer sent her sons from their home in London to stay with their father in Germany for the summer in accordance with their custody agreement. But at summer's end, he refused to send them back. The English courts ordered the children's immediate return to London under the terms of the Hague Convention. Initially, a German court upheld the English decision. But Meyer's relief did not last long.

Chapter One: Cri de Coeur

My heart is filled.
It is filled with nothing but pain.

In our London home, the three of us were packing in Alexander and Constantin's bedroom. A few hours later my sons would be leaving for their summer holiday in Germany to stay with their father. Little did we know then that this would be the end of our happy and peaceful existence. Little did we know that this would be the very last day we would be free to talk, free to cuddle, and free to love. "You won't touch anything, Mummy? Promise. I have cleared my desk and arranged my toys the way I want them for when I get back."

Alexander was always so meticulous. His collection of tube tickets was neatly held together with a rubber band in one drawer, his stamps in another, and on the shelf above, small boxes containing his secret treasures and souvenirs were tidily stacked. Everything had its special place, and no one, not even his younger brother Constantin, was allowed to disturb the private domain of his desk. In the large cupboard, his Legos were laid out very precisely, like a theater. On one shelf, he had arranged his medieval knights, shields and spears in hand, ready to venture forth on their next crusade. On the shelf beneath, pirate ships encircled a lone island, ready for imminent attack. The display was so carefully planned that the models looked almost real.

My Alexander: partly a serious boy and yet still partly a demanding baby. By nature, he was less levelheaded and even-tempered than Constantin. He was full of mischief, often given to embroidering the truth with his vivid imagination; he could be capricious sometimes, torn between the real world and fantasy.

But fate would throw him prematurely into adulthood. His father and I had separated when he was six and a half, and since then we have lived in different countries. His daddy stayed in Germany, and the three of us moved back to London, where he had been born. Living without a man around, he gradually assumed that role for himself. I never imposed it on him. In my eyes, he was still so tiny and vulnerable. But he cherished this new status, and at times he would almost take charge and be protective of me. Today was such a day.

"Do we still have time? We won't miss the plane?"

"There's plenty of time. We don't have to leave for another hour."

"And, Mummy, don't forget to buy the exercise books I need for the beginning of term. Here's the list from school."

He spoke to me in French, as he always did, French being his and Constantin's mother tongue. Both children had always attended French schools, but they were also fluent in German and would automatically speak to their father in it. It was wonderful to hear them switching so easily from one language to the other. Alexander was particularly gifted, and his English, too, was perfect now. English offered many fun expressions, which he loved to mix up, sometimes with a Rastafarian accent that he imitated well and that always made Constantin and me laugh.

Both my sons were the perfect image of the new Europe. Brought up in London, with a German father and a French mother, they had, and still have, three passports and are trilingual. In a future Europe, this background would surely give them tremendous advantages. I was thrilled that they had this chance and terribly proud that both of them could rise to the challenge. Even given the opportunity, not all children are so adept at languages!

© Catherine Meyer 1999.  Published with permission of the publisher, Public Affairs.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: If We Were Villains
    If We Were Villains
    by M L. Rio
    22 out of 28 of our reviewers rated If We Were Villains four or five stars, giving it an overall ...
  • Book Jacket: The Islamic Enlightenment
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Leavers
    The Leavers
    by Lisa Ko
    The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school. A navy blue...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T W Don't M A R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -