Saturday, 7 September 2013

Where in the World...?

Guess where LB and I are?

Can you guess?

CANADA.

We flew in last Thursday as a surprise for my Nan's 80th birthday. The only thing my Nan wanted for her birthday was for all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to be together, so the entire family planned to gather at my aunt and uncle's acreage (sheep! chickens! horses!). However, since we'd just been to visit in March--and we have a fairly major trip planned for November to attend a wedding--no one expected us to be there.

Surprises are the best and there's nothing like being grabbed in a huge bear hug by the people you love most, who grab your face in both hands then clap their hands over your arms and shoulders trying to feel if you're real. That they're not just dreaming you.

It was truly a happy, happy moment.

Last weekend I sat around the fire, under the bright expanse of the milky way, cracking jokes with my family, laughing loudly, feeling content to be privileged enough to sit with this group of people and know that they're mine and we were so lucky to all come together to celebrate our matriarch, who has celebrated all of us, individually, our whole lives. Dan wasn't there though, and that was the only stitch missing in an otherwise perfect quilt of togetherness.

Staring at all these faces who are so familiar but also changed, looking at the new faces and gasping with the realisation, "S/he looks just like...", well: these are the moments. These are the people. This is what life is all about. This is what matters.

My thirteen year old cousin, who I've known since the minute she was born, entering high school for the first time this week and feeling nervous about it. I give her a huge hug and tell her it will be fine, the first day is nerve wracking but everyone else is just as terrified as she is. Even the Grade 12's. New years are new beginnings and everyone feels the same. I remember how she was born when her parents were putting the finishing touches on the new house they were building, and how she slept in a laundry basket that first week (she rolls her eyes, "Another baby story"); we remember how I took her to the movies, instructed her to save the popcorn for when the lights went down, and how she wolfed the entire bag down and I didn't even realise it; we remember that time I locked my keys in the car in freezing cold February because yeah, "You did that a lot"; we remember how she'd sleep over at my place while her parents did Christmas shopping, and how we'd tell ghost stories and her seven-year-old tales were dead scary: scarier than mine.

She was the little kid who would jump into my arms whenever she saw me, and here she is today: one of the most capable, intelligent, independent thirteen year olds I've ever had the privilege to know.

How'd that happen?

Because...laundry basket...just yesterday...like, whoa.

"But you're a mom a now."

Holyshittimeflies,likewhoa.

It does. And it does not, as the adage goes, wait for anyone.

So I flew here to meet it, because sometimes you just do, and the hugs and stories on the other side are worth more than the cost of a plane ticket.

2 comments:

mom said...

And we are so incredibly glad that you and LB are here!! Love Dad & Mom xxxooo

T said...

Very heartwarming post Caitie, it is so awesome that you were able to pull the surprise off!