Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Canadian Christmas

We've been in Canada for over a week.  Our trip from Melbourne to British Columbia was remarkably easy; a total of about 18 hours door-to-door which is about as fast as one can possibly travel those distances.  All bags arrived, we were adequately rested and the jetlag was minimal.

Since then, we've done what we always do, fall into those easy rhythms with the family; 9 of us sitting around the table at breakfast drinking coffee, sharing the paper, and fighting over the Sudoko.  J loves to wander sleepily into the kitchen to the noise and busy-ness of a large family.  We've run Mount Doug a few times, hiked steeper Mount Finlayson to spectacular Pacific Northwest views, played about a hundred hands of Au Mille, and had about a hundred more laughs.

It isn't easy getting this many of us under one roof for this many days.  Many of us were weary in the lead-up to Christmas and all of the concomitant planning and executing.  Some were missing girlfriends or dogs, some were missing space or our own beds.  Nerves can get rubbed the wrong way, and some of us talk too much during movies.

But this is us.  This is how we do it.  The bulk of us travel here from where we live because this is where we want to be and who we want to be with at Christmas.  This is when we can spend intense moments of quality time together; where we make large deposits into our collective banks of family memories.  When I see the love showered on J by his extended family, I feel blessed and I know he gets it.  He understands the ties that bind, the value of family and his place in it.

Family is about my sister-in-law waking J early on Christmas morning.  We all emerge at dawn into the magical environment she has created.  Candles flicker in every room, the aroma of coffee wafts throughout the house, music softly plays, and a pile of presents beckon.  Every year, four stockings bulge with goodies for the kids.  This year, the three eldest surprised the five adults with our own overflowing stockings.  It was unexpected and remarkably thoughtful.  More of the ties that bind.

Soon we will all be on our separate ways.  Three head back to Calgary.  C2, J, and I leave for a week's ski holiday to Whistler-Blackcomb.  The house will be cleaned and life will return to normal.  But my soul will have been recharged for another year, I will have been reminded who I am and where I come from.  When we fly back to our home in Australia 15,000km away, I'll remember we're really not far away at all.


C. said...

Kik, Getting up Christmas morning and seeing the sleep and wonder in jack's eyes is worth it all. There is always a lack of milk, a lack of bread, hell~ even a lack of red wine for crying out loud........but NEVER EVER is there a lack of love. To see our children together is a testament to family and to love. WE ROCK SISTA!!!!

Jen said...

you guys have a wonderful family and it is marvelous to read about your adventures together, big and small. Family time is never smooth but it can be great, as you all have shown. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year :)

DL NELSON said...

Happiness rolls off the page...We expats or (repats) need an anchor of love.

Sheila Cook said...

Beautifully said, my friend. You are very lucky to have all that love and friendship in a family. Enjoy every moment. Sx