June 30. I’m still in Mexico. Borders are still closed. Canada is still enforcing the Quarantine Act.
In another lifetime it was month end at work. It was the last day of school when I’d take my kids out for brunch after picking up their report cards. Another tradition was going to Chuck E Cheese later on in the day.
And then I moved to Mexico ten years ago to teach English. One of my first projects was setting the students up with penpals.
I’m actually still friends with my first penpal. I was living in Winnipeg and Carole lived in Minneapolis. We were 12 when we met. We have been friends for over five decades.
Today technology such as Face Time, Skype and Zoom have changed completely the concept of long distance relationships.
Today’s generation will never experience the thrill of rushing home from school to check the mailbox for a letter.
They will never have the opportunity to browse through stores in search of the perfect writing paper, envelopes and hasti-notes.
I also remember going to the post office in search of commemorative stamps rather than ordinary postage stamps. And the joys of sealing that envelope with wax!
Mail was only picked up at certain times. In the city there was next day delivery. International mail usually took 3 days.
I must admit that I now refer to email as snail mail with all the other options available. Here in Mexico the postal system is almost non-existent making FedEx a good friend.
But it’s nice to reminisce about the past as I compile more stories for Memoirs For Madeline. My granddaughter is only two and I wonder what communication will be like when she turns 12.
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!
For the first time in my life I am alone on Mother’s Day. I’ve always been with family and friends. But this year is different. COVID-19 has changed everything.
The last time I was with my own mother on Mother’s Day was in 1996. It’s been 24 years since she passed away but sometimes the waves of grief hit and it feels like yesterday.
I celebrated my first Mother’s Day in Mexico back in 2011. I was living in Culiacán. Juan, Lucila And Juan Carlos took me out for raspados and then to a park. Lucila made me a bracelet which I treasure.
2020 is only my second Mother’s Day in Mexico. I’m usually in Winnipeg or in Leavenworth. In searching my memories, the last time I was with both of my kids together on Mother’s Day was in 2008. It’s been a long time.
A year ago I was sitting out on the deck of the golf club in Leavenworth enjoying brunch with my friends after church. Today I sipped coffee as I did online church. No eggs Benny today. A quesadilla instead.
From my quarantine home to yours, Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing women out there, especially to my daughter who now has a daughter of her own.
It’s pouring rain here in Aguascalientes and unseasonably low temperatures have graced us. It’s a good day to sip herbal tea and to watch movies. And to write a blog post.
New Year’s Eve 2009 was when I rang in the second decade of the millenium. At the time I was with friends from church and living in Winnipeg.
In 2010 I was on a tour up in the Copper Canyon in northern Mexico. I rang in the new year in El Fuerte with friends. We had dinner at the hotel where Zorro was filmed. Zorro himself appeared at our table just before the fireworks began at midnight.
I have celebrated New Year’s Eve with numerous friends from all over the world every year since then. I’ve been in Culiacán, Guadalajara, México City, Mazatlan and San Ciro. This year I will be in Aguascalientes to welcome the year 2020.
The past decade has been one of the most exciting times in my life. “Growth” has been the key word in describing my experience. I embarked in a new career in a foreign country. I learned a new language and assimilated into a different culture. I’ve celebrated holidays with new friends from all over the world.
I’ve lived in and explored amazing areas in Mexico that I’d never even heard of before. I went on an amazing train trip in the Copper Canyon, I climbed pyramids in central Mexico and I walked barefoot in the sand on numerous beaches along the Pacific coast. I’ve visited several magic towns and have enjoyed the local cuisine in most places, menudo aside.
Mexicans marvel at the fact that I am a single female and travel solo at my age, especially when I settle down for a while in a new place. I thrive on exploring new places and meeting new people. I have friends of all ages and backgrounds. I have a family in Culiacán who have adopted me and I am the proud abuelita of four amazing grandsons.
And just when I thought that Mexico was absolutely “it”, I discovered Leavenworth. This quaint Bavarian village has captured my heart. I’ve made good friends and we’ve shared some great adventures together.
All of these experiences have contributed to my growth. At this point in time I am really living life to the fullest.
Farewell to the second decade of this millennium. Welcome to the third decade. Can’t wait to find out what comes next!!!!
There is an age old controversy about defining family as blood relatives only. But it has been my experience that family are the people you feel closest to, the people who are there for us and who give special meaning to our lives, even though these people are not blood relatives.
When I first came to Culiacán almost nine years ago, I did not know a soul in Mexico. I met Juan and Lucila and they became much more than just friends. They became my family. At the time they had only one child. Juan Carlos was just over one year old.
The family has grown over the years and their four sons are my nietos, my grandsons. They call me abuelita, grandma. And I cannot imagine life without them. We haven’t lived in the same city for the past eight years, and Mexico is a large country geographically. But in the six months I spend in Mexico each year, I do try to see them as often as possible.
I’m delighted that my grandsons are learning English at school. I bring them back English books and activity books when I return from my time up north. But my Spanish definitely gets a workout when I am with them.
The photo in this post was taken when the baby was less than two months old when I was last in Culiacan in April. I wish I could visit more often. It’s tough being a long distance grandma.
I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime but one of the most difficult things ever is being a long distance grandma.
My grandparents all lived close by when I was growing up. Although my dad had already passed away by the time my kids came along, my mom lived only minutes away when they were young.
I spent a few magical days with my granddaughter Madeline this summer. At 17 months, she had changed a lot since I had last seen her when she was only six weeks old.
Memorable times included a visit to a kangaroo farm, a splash pad, a children’s play center as well as her first haircut.
I miss building towers with her and playing in the “thunderdome” with her. I miss pushing her in her stroller or wheeling her around in a shopping cart.
What I miss the most was our cuddling time when I would read to her and give her a bottle before she went to sleep at night.
Although she came to the airport when I left, I don’t think she quite realized what was happening. I wonder if she looked for me that evening at bedtime, or looked for me the next morning when it was time for breakfast.
I know that I have this empty feeling and that part of my heart was left behind with Madeline in Kelowna.
It’s tough being a long distance grandma.