I’m sitting in my parent’s kitchen in Ottawa – the city in which I was born and raised. Two of my nephews just left, and I’m here writing this blog post, a cup of coffee next to me, and the most amazing fall weather just outside these four walls.
Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving, or as we Canadians like to call it, just Thanksgiving. Like most families, mine doesn’t opt to stuff our faces with delicious food on the actual day because, really, no one wants to wake up the next morning with a gut full of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and more, and go to work. Instead, we choose to do ours sometime on the weekend, giving us the power to really enjoy each other’s company without the looming “threat” of the work week to come.
Living away from my entire family, in a city that, until two years ago, was almost entirely unfamiliar to me, isn’t easy. I get homesick far more than I would like and regularly question the decisions I’d made that have led me to this place. Still, those decisions have brought me to this exact spot I’m seated in at this very moment, writing to you all, able to reflect on the things I’m most grateful for, with the ability to see them much clearer because the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true.
Being hundreds of kilometres away from the people I love the most is never simple. There are five kids I can’t imagine living without, two older sisters who somehow mother them in the most graceful ways possible, and two parents who, besides giving me life, have supported me unconditionally in whatever decision I’ve made in my 27 years and have, without fail, been the sturdiest of rocks whenever I’ve needed a shoulder to cry on.
What it is, however, is an opportunity to be able to reflect on what I do have (even if, at times, it seems limited and beyond my reach) and feel truly grateful for it all. What I’m most thankful for is that each time I come home, I’m given the insight into just how much all of this stuff matters to me and how very-much present it all is, even when I’m not close by. No matter where I am, everything is always here. I suppose love, in whatever form you choose to recognize it, is like an infinitely-strong rubber band. It can stretch and stretch as far as you need and you never really have to worry about it snapping.
To my fellow Canadians, make sure you enjoy this time with the things and the people you love the most. To everyone else, remember that you don’t need a holiday to do the same. Get out there and live, savour each experience that comes your way, and always remember: mashed potatoes are best when whipped.