Tag Archives: children

Dear Daddy

Standard
Dear Daddy

Another Father’s Day without you today. We haven’t celebrated this day together in 44 years. You were taken from me way too soon.

When you died I lost my hero, my best friend and my sense of security. You were always there for me. I could talk to you about anything and everything. And there has never been anyone else in my life who could fill that void.

I treasure the memories I have in my heart. I can still see you assembling the swing set in the backyard on Brock Street. You were so patient in teaching me how to ride a bike and then later on teaching me how to drive a car.

I remember the day we were at Ashdowns buying tools and I fell in love with a pink pyjama dog. I cuddled with Pinky every night for years.

I absolutely adore this photo of us at Van Kirk Gardens. You always sculpted a beautiful garden around our house. You knew my favorite flowers were marigolds and there was always a special place set aside for them.

Sometimes you’d go back to the office to work in the evenings. I’d take along my homework and go with you.

At Christmas we’d go for rides to see the lights and always check out the Carlings display. It was such a magical place with a nursery rhyme theme.

We had intense conversations when we went for rides or walks. Two of your favored phrases have stuck with me through the years. Honesty is the best policy. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

You instilled a set of values in me that have made me the person I am today. And I have tried to pass these on to my children, the grandchildren you sadly never had the chance to meet. They have missed out on having an amazing grandfather in their lives.

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of you.

Sending you lots of love today and every day.

Happy Father’s Day!

Parents Where Are Your Children

Standard
Parents Where Are Your Children

When my children were young, a phrase often splashed across the TV screen. “Parents where are your children?” It’s now decades later and this phrase is still in my head.

A couple of weeks ago I actually emailed my current address to my children in Canada. Until now they’ve had only my email and phone number, as well as Facebook.

I move around a lot but I’ll be at my current address indefinitely. I’ve been self-isolating for more than a month now and Mexico has just entered phase three.

There were a number of factors that influenced my decision to stay in Mexico. First and foremost has to deal with my children. They may be in their thirties now but that protective instinct still kicks in. They are both asthmatic and have other inhalant allergies. I did not want to take the chance of my being a carrier and infecting them.

That leaves me with nowhere to quarantine and nowhere to live. I haven’t had a home in Canada in ten years.

The closest place for me to call home is Leavenworth, Washington. I spend six months of the year there when I’m not in Mexico. There I do have a place to quarantine and somewhere to live. But I am not American so the border is closed to me now.

Then there are the dangers of contracting COVID-19 or any other infectious disease by traveling through four airports to get to Canada from Aguascalientes.

Here in Mexico I am quite comfortable. I have a place to live. Food and other supplies are readily available within walking distance of where I live. My landlord Raul is the greatest and has provided me with a safety net should circumstances change.

My biggest challenge is in making my children understand the importance of more frequent contact. It’s not just that I need to know that they care about me. Hearing their voices is reassuring as I always worry about them. With COVID-19 I am even more concerned. I need to know that they’re okay.

It’s tough living thousands of miles away from your children in a different country during a pandemic.

Why?

Standard
Why?

Three little letters but oh the conversations they initiate.

I was at the park yesterday coloring when a delightful child stopped by to talk to me. Oscar is in fifth grade primaria and had a day off school. He rode his bike to the park and it took him 20 minutes. He was quite envious when I told him I live a block away.

It was an interesting conversation. I spoke in Spanish and he spoke in English. We were both impressed that we could each speak and understand each other’s languages.

What had attracted him to come over and talk to me was that I was coloring. He told me that I was the only adult he had ever seen doing this. He called his sister over and she was in awe of my gel pens and markers.

And then came the why questions. Why do I color? Why did I come to Aguascalientes when my family is in Canada? Why do I only have two children? Why did I get a divorce? Why don’t I marry a Mexican and have more children?

The innocence of childhood. I smiled recalling myself at their age. I too was curious but probably not quite so bold in asking questions.

Oscar and his sister are only two of the people who constantly ask me these questions. Often it is adults who find it a novelty that I come to the park to color.

Just the other day a man asked me where I sell my art. When I told him I color to relax, he shook his head and told me it was a good career. He said I should give up teaching English and sell my art instead.

I must admit I spend considerably more time coloring than teaching English. And I enjoy them both.

Here is a sample of my artwork.

Posada!

Standard
Posada!

It’s the Christmas season here in San Ciro and that is synonymous with posadas. These happen starting nine days before Christmas Eve.

On Monday night I went to a posada at a taqueria owned by friends.  More than twenty kids arrived more than an hour before Santa was scheduled to make his debut. Some of them crowded around inside watching a video of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.   

IMG_20181217_192020

And then………….Santa arrived!

IMG_20181217_190439

He was instantly swarmed with children eager to talk to him as well as to receive  candy.

IMG_20181217_190135

Some of the children were a little apprehensive. They haven’t been exposed to the commercialized Santas in the malls. The nearest large mall to San Ciro is more than three hours away and many of these children have never even been out of San Ciro. A conservative guesstimate is that approximately 75 children were at the posada, many of them walking down the hills and into the town that night to see Santa.

IMG_20181217_191049

There were tons of  photos taken that night, and all the adults present were certainly overwhelmed with emotion as they watched the children visit with Santa. There was even an edible craft for the kids as displayed by Diana.

IMG_20181217_200542 (1)

What a great way to begin the holiday season!

Kinderfest

Standard
Kinderfest

The more time I spend here, the more amazed I am at the various events here that are family-oriented. This time the event was Kinderfest and it was held on the fourth of July. Temperatures soaring into the 90s were no deterrent to the hundreds of adults and children who filled the streets in the downtown area. Front Street was transformed into a major carnival with a variety of games and activities.

The fun began with a bike parade at 11 am. Afterwards long line-ups prevailed throughout the day as eager children excitedly awaited their turns at a bouncy house and a water slide, not to mention all the other crafts and games that were set up. An incredible amount of volunteer manpower was evident and I am impressed with the giving spirit in this community.

054

A popular area had fire engines, ambulances, tow trucks and tractors that were all kid-friendly. The children were delighted to clamber aboard and honk horns or blow sirens.

012013

One of the tables touched my heart. A friend of mine from Cashmere spearheaded this one. Children were encouraged to write a note and enclose a tiny flag that would be sent to soldiers serving overseas.

018017

There was a table where hats could be constructed.

021

Games included fishing with magnets, basketball, balloons and more.

039027026

The bouncy house was a favored attraction, as was the water slide for cooling off.

033047

The Rotary Club volunteers were hard at work building birdhouses.

049

Here are a few miscellaneous shots.

016020024031034030

And that was Kinderfest 2017. 

 

Mothers On My Mind

Standard
Mothers On My Mind

April 5th was my mother’s birthday. She would have celebrated her 105th birthday that day. But sadly she passed away more than twenty years ago. And the last time we were together on Mother’s Day was in 1996. Cell phones with cameras weren’t around yet, and somehow we just didn’t drag out a real camera that day to take photos. At the time, my son was fifteen and my daughter was twelve. And the only pictures I have of that day are those etched in my mind and in my heart forever.

It was a glorious sunny day in Winnipeg, unseasonably warm and the snow had already disappeared. I had prepared brunch that day at home. I still recall the menu vividly………..salad, quiche, fresh fruit and a lemon trifle for dessert. We wanted to spend a quiet, leisurely time at home rather than fight the crowds in the restaurants. My mother was scheduled for surgery that week, a surgery that tragically took her life.

This year I will be back in Winnipeg for Mother’s Day. Instead of a virtual visit to the cemetery on my laptop, I will be able to visit in person, a routine I followed every year after her death until I moved away several years ago.

And I am a mother as well. I fondly recall the last time I spent Mother’s Day with both of my children back in 2009. My daughter made a lovely brunch and this time we did take pictures. 

239

My daughter has since moved to Ontario, but I have been able to spend time with my son on Mother’s Day when I have come back to visit. Here is a shot of us back in 2013. 

18236_10152862853419205_8991798191276610324_n

It’s been a while since I’ve been with both of my kids on Mother’s Day but last year they were both together in Toronto and sent me this lovely photo.

13076921_10153623410514205_4202649717191939617_n

Another memorable Mother’s Day was the first one I spent in Mexico. I was living in Culiacan. Juan and I taught together, and he and his wife Lucila had adopted me into their family. At the time they had a toddler named Juan Carlos. We went out for raspados and went to a park. Lucila had made a bracelet for me which I treasure and still wear.

IMG02612-20110629-2333

So I have had mothers on my mind this month, although Mother’s Day in Mexico is on May 10th and in Canada it’s on May 14th.

I am looking forward to spending Mother’s Day this year with my son. It will be the highlight of my visit to Winnipeg. Kyle be warned. There will be photos.