Memories of my life drift in my mind like the snow that spirals along sidewalks, roads, and that dances on rooftops. It’s odd the moments that I remember fondly, and the ones you think I would, I can barely recall.
It seems what I should remember are the highlights: graduating from University, or getting married. But while these were important pivotal moments, they are nothing in comparison to the time my father skipped work (he worked almost every day of the week) to take my brother and I tobogganing. Dressed in snowsuits we climbed up a hill located in Fonthill, ON and then flew down again on a wooden toboggan. It was special to me, because it was such a rare event.
Or the very first time my Mom and I paid $2 to see Casper in theater. When we drove back home I looked over at my mother who was giddy from the experience and recounted the story and how wonderful it was with a smile spread across her face. I believe the last movie she saw in theaters up to that moment was Love Story.
Then there was a Valentine’s Day where I was still stinging from the pain of my father dying when I felt isolated and alone, even though I wasn’t. My husband and I had driven to a small town called Merrickville that’s about 45 minutes from Ottawa. A picturesque and quaint town that bustles with tiny shops and restaurants we make our way there a couple of times a year, in a quest to purchase the most delicious and diverse selection of fudge that my palate has ever had the joy to experience.
After we made our purchase we found a quiet little restaurant called the, Yellow Canoe and had soup and a half-sandwich. There was something about the quietness, the smallness, the gentleness of the place that suddenly made me feel reflective of the moment, and I realized how grateful I was to be there with my ever-supportive husband.
My husband had not purchased long-stemmed roses for me, or written a poem describing me as a wonderful Wonder Woman. It was hot soup and half-sandwich. And it was beautiful. Even though I’m fairly certain I cried a couple of times as I talked about missing my Dad, it sticks out in my memory as by far, my favorite Valentine’s Day.
Finally, there was the time I got my favorite birthday present. It didn’t come wrapped in gold lined wrapping paper with dazzling diamonds embedded in it. It didn’t come from Canada Post, or UPS. It wasn’t something that was purchased at the store, or something that someone spent many anxious nights racing to finish in time to complete by a specific date.
It came in the format of an email, and with a click of a mouse, I saw a few words written…It was a wish from my brother for a happy birthday with a few additional words written about how much he loved me.
My brother rarely remembered my birthday and when he did, would send his wishes late. The fact that he remembered on the right date even though he was facing so many challenges in his own life, and with his note of love included, it made it even more special.
At this time of year, I’m reminded of the simple experiences and gifts that have made my life exceptional. It is the rare and golden moments I’ve shared with family and friends that have brightened my life. On the eve of Christmas I will keep this in the forefront of my mind as I remember what Christmas should mean to me.