Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Weekend in My Village

Well, we’re heading home this weekend.

And by home, I mean southern Ontario - the Golden Triangle - Hamilton, St. Catharines, Fort Erie. And this time, it’s just a pleasure cruise. Oh how we’ve been waiting . . .

The last time I was “home” was a little more than three years ago. And that was to attend my father’s funeral. The time before that, I believe it was for my step-father’s funeral. And the time before that it was my grandmother’s funeral.

This was one of the things Neomom and I found unappealing about the RCMP lifestyle. It seemed like the only times we’d get back home was for funerals. That would eat up the ol’ vacation budget and it was usually only one of us that could go. Way too expensive to fly four people from Winnipeg to Niagara for a couple of days. It’s one of the things they don’t mention in the recruitment brochure.

So I’m really looking forward to this trip. My boys get to see Grandma R for the first time in a few years (she came to visit a few times) and they get to see Uncle J, Aunt P and, hopefully, a few of their cousins. We’ll swim, drink beer, eat wings, catch up. Awesome.

You don’t fully understand the “takes a village” concept until your village, your tribe, is more than 2,000 km away when you have your first baby, your second baby. When you’re raising your kids and they don’t have the benefit of watching Uncle J fix a car, or of sharing Uncle D’s wacky sense of humour and compassion. They don’t get to see Aunt L’s strength and the other Aunt L’s artistic, creative process.

My boys would have benefitted from all of that.

And when life occasionally handed us lemons, and the tribe was out of reach, it added to the challenge. (See how I tried to keep it positive there instead of saying something like, it made it suck a septic system milkshake?). 

Yes, during our short stays in several Manitoba towns, we picked up surrogate grandparents and surrogate uncles and aunts for the boys. And some of them were truly awesome and really helped through some difficult times. But each time, we had to say good-bye and move on.

And now, for the first time in 14.5 years, we are within 3.5 hours of family. That is just awesome. More family is only 6.5 hours away. May seem like a lot to some, but for us, that’s less than a day’s drive. For a while there in Manitoba, it was a day’s drive to the airport to catch a plane to fly home. 

So yeah, counting my blessings this morning. Looking forward to the weekend.

Have a great Thursday.