Tag Archives: family

Connecting – powerfully emotional

The last trip we took to British Columbia to see my husband’s family was 2003. Although he’s been out a few times since, it’s seems like a life time ago that we journeyed with a camper and four kids out through the States so our children could meet aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time.

Using our upcoming 30th anniversary as an excuse, I successfully convinced my husband that a trip out West would be money well-spent. As we approached Vernon in our rented car I could feel the excitement building but I also felt frustrated that our scheduled visit with my husband’s parents wasn’t to take place until the next day. Amazingly my husband decided we would surprise his parents and pop in anyway. That first connection inspired a flood of emotion in me that continued throughout the visit.

I don’t think I was prepared for the powerful emotions that would overwhelm me throughout the visit. Doors and arms were open wide welcoming us as if we’d never been apart. It was so moving to experience the hospitality and warmth of family – some of whom, if not for Facebook, I wouldn’t really know at all.

More than once, moved to tears, my heart overflowed with gratitude. To feel connected to these people that I’ve only felt on the periphery of was very moving. Identifying common traits and characteristics among “his people” that I’ve grown so accustomed to in my husband caused me to smile so often. These mannerisms and actions that in isolation seem to so uniquely define him, in the company of his parents and siblings are shared and familial. I wish my kids could have been there to connect things up in the same way from gestures, to phrasing, to the way his dad’s mouth goes down at the corner – it’s like it all fits.

While in Vernon I also had the opportunity to visit a cousin of mine I hadn’t seen in over 20. My real memories of him are rooted back to when I was pre 7 years old. A bit apprehensive at the start, his truthful expression of emotion related to my deceased brother,  who was his best friend, opened a dialogue and connection that moved me and I felt would have pleased my brother.

So much enjoyment from getting to know my niece and her family, enjoying – if only for a brief time – the relationship of my sisters and brothers in law – enriched our experience beyond my expectations. Getting to meet a nephew I’d never met before and his wife was also a dream come true. Another niece home from travels abroad colliding perfectly with our visit seemed so wonderfully timed; and yet another nephew was in town with his wife and sweet little son – more than I could have hoped for!

As I reflect on the visit I am so filled with gratitude that tears well up in my eyes. Connections, family: is there anything more meaningful or important?  I am sad that there is such a great distance between us but I hope that the doors that opened will remain open and the connection strengthened in person will continue.

Knowing there’s a time for everything

It took me hours of searching on the Internet to find just the right cottage. The must haves included:

  • Wifi
  • Firepit
  • Waterfront
  • At least 4 bedrooms
  • A separate bunky
  • Full kitchen, and
  • Some form of watercraft

It could be a family celebration of my 50th birthday.  People could pitch in making meals. Rest, relaxation and one last shot at a family vacation – that was my vision.

Our kids are adults and I’m ready for them to fly independently as long as they don’t fly exclusive of some connection with me. I found the right cottage at the end of a long and winding road. And they came. They all came. One came for only a few days and the rest for the week.

Did they come out of obligation or willing participation? Should it matter? Moments.  I suppose that’s all we really have – a collection of moments. I cherish the laughter, the boyish jokes over farts and old private jokes that resurface and remind us of the past. But there are other moments too. I witness rejection and hurt and isolation and I feel it as if it were my own. I wish their relationships were different and yet at the same time I try to accept that our family, although my greatest source of joy and what I treasure the most, is not idyllic.

As I look out the windows and see the smooth rippling water, the blue skies, white clouds, rocky shores and tall pine trees I hear the birds singing and I’m grateful. If this truly is our last family vacation, the setting is beautiful. As we sat around last night and played Balderdash there was a connection to the  fabric  of our family identity even though there were four and not six.

We are surrounded by such beauty in nature and there’s enough space so no one feels overwhelmed. Even the best cottage in the best location wouldn’t prevent personalities and behaviour patterns from emerging.

Do I wish they would all get along and appreciate each other?
Of course.
Does my heart hurt when I see how deeply it hurts one to feel the rejection of another?
Of course.

These are my people, the ones I’d actually give my life for. I’ve never wished away one stage for another, nor did I ever try to hold them back. I do however hold the collections of moments like the best treasures, knowing love is strong and my love for all of them never weakens.

The Boys
Trying to sink the doc

The mischievous squeak of the rocking chair on the porch floors, the banana boats around the fire, the tipsy boys climbing into a row boat and trying to sink the dock, the father and son fishing trips in the canoe, the game playing and father-daughter puzzle completion – these are the collection of moments that I’ll try to preserve. The sound of the whippoorwill and the discussions around what if all birds called their own names will put a smile on my face every time I hear their call.

This vacation seems to mirror our family quite well, not idyllic, but amidst dysfunction, there’s fun and imagination and treasured moments more precious than jewels! I’ve made most of the meals and there’s no mention of birthdays – in fact Father’s Day was barely acknowledged – but but they came. I don’t know if they did so willingly or for me, but they came. If this be our last official family vacation then I savor each moment and send out my love and appreciation to my people for whom I have such gratitude and immeasurable love.

 

Picturing my happy thoughts

Working through a social media marketing course has been interesting. Tasked with creating some video content, I thought one way to do that would be to share some of my favourite happy thoughts through photos.

Of course the majority of the photos are of my children for they have enriched my life with so much joy! The following video is just a small cross-section of photos, in no particular order that represent some of my happiest thoughts or memories.

I thought of putting them in chronological order but then I decided to scroll through randomly was much more representative of how happy thoughts come and go anyway.

Perhaps you’ll enjoy a glimpse of the images that bring me happiness!

Here’s the video, I hope you’ll enjoy the photos I chose to share.