In Canada, the third Monday in February is Family Day. How great is that? Family is worthy of celebration, whether defined as flesh and blood, or family of the heart. It's all the about precious relationships in our lives and being reminded how important they are.
Brenda and Kevin went away overnight on Friday, to a gorgeous bed and breakfast in Niagara on the Lake, complete with dinner and a wine tasting tour--a wedding gift from Kevin's parents. Paul and I were "home alone" with Tippy, Tori & Molson.
The girls were off school on Friday and Paul was working from his home office. Tori, ("Miss Sociability,") had plans to play at the park in town for the day with a group of her friends and Tippy ("Miss Reflective Introvert") just wanted time alone to draw and to recover from several busy weekends with no time to herself.
I went to work on Friday morning but gave almost 13 years old Tori my cell phone number and told her to call me if she needed me. She gave me the address and phone number of her friend.
In the late afternoon my cell phone rang. It sounded like Tori on the other end, but her staccato sentences were blurted out between gales of giggles in the back ground. Finally I managed to decipher that she was asking for permission to stay for dinner at her friend's house.
I asked how the day had gone, had she had fun, and enough other questions to be sure she was safe and that the friend's parent was in agreement.
She said that she and her friends had spent the day skating on one of the two outdoor rinks in the Bond Head park until chased off by two sudden snow storms that came out of nowhere, and being chased off first by a group of boys who wanted one of the rinks to play hockey.
Paul and I had just started a movie when my phone went again. More giggles in the background (do girls do anything else?) and Tori asked, "Um, would it be okay for me to sleep over?" Apparently the group of them would be there and it was okay with the friend's parents.
This required me to call Brenda and then call Tori back. Permission was granted, but pajamas and toothbrush etc. were needed, so Paul and I put the movie and our dinners on hold, and drove into the dark night to pick up Tori so that she could come home and grab what she needed.
As we drove by the Bond Head park, we looked across the dark expanse of snow to the ice rinks. Under the floodlights, boys with hockey sticks wove in and out, following the puck.
At Tori's friend MacKenzie's house, I knocked the door and Tori opened it. Upstairs, MacKenzie's dad waved hello, while trying to hold onto several dogs he was dog sitting for the weekend, one of them a Great Dane. We couldn't help but notice that the garage light was on and that there was a big screen TV in there. This is probably his "man cave," I thought. An escape!
Again we drove by the park and I thought what a quintessentially Canadian scene the ice rink was, with the seemingly tireless boys, circling endlessly still in the crisp evening air.
As I drove Tori back from our house with her knapsack of night things, she was greeted by friends jumping down from their perches in a tree on the front lawn. "Tori!" they all shouted.
There's not going to be much sleeping in that house tonight, I thought to myself and gratefully went home to our movie night.
The afternoon, I had a plan to attend one of our grandsons' hockey games. That's his sweet face beneath the helmet, next to the coach.
Sue, my daughter in law waved me over to a spot beside her on the bench upstairs behind a glass window where we could look down and watch the action. She told me he was number 44 and for the whole game, I watched number 44 only! He got hit in the stomach by the end of a hockey stick and lay on the rink winded for several minutes, bringing the game to standstill for a few minutes while he was checked out. Sue ran downstairs and stood on the other side of the barrier, hands pressed against the glass and banging it in encouragement when he finally was able to get back to his feet.
It didn't matter that they lost to the other team, all that mattered to me was the rosy cheeked little boy who knew his Omie was there to see him play.
Brenda and Kevin came back on Saturday afternoon too, bringing with them two precious jars of Greaves jam-- one apricot and the other blackcurrant. Susan had whispered to Brenda that if she was going to Niagara on the Lake she had to go to the Greaves store and bring back my favourite kinds of jam!
When they got there, Kevin had asked Brenda where she wanted to go and she told him, "The jam store!" He laughed at this exciting "must go to" destination on her agenda.
It was great to have them safely home again. There is no better feeling than when all the inhabitants of a house are safely back under one roof after being away.
On Sunday afternoon I had books to show Brenda (and Kevin was subjected to my enthusiastic raving too.) I had bought a new cookbook from Costco on Saturday:The Looneyspoons Collection;Janet and Greta’s greatest hits
It looks like an amazing cookbook, with healthy and delicious recipes that I will love trying!
I also bought the New York Times Best Seller Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D. and have read a chunk of it already. Brenda (and I am sure Paul) have wheat intolerance and it is fascinating reading the medical validation and confirmation of what Brenda has experienced since going wheat free several years ago. She recovered from all of the physical issues the book describes and I saw it happen.
I spent Sunday afternoon preparing for our second evening of "Catalyst" at church. This is the program of leadership development sessions that Susan and I are leading together. When we were talking about it over dinner on Thursday at cell group, Tippy had said, "Can I go?" and she did. There she sat tonight, one 14 year old among a room of adults, taking in a session and discussion on "The Evil, The Foolish, The Wise," by Henry Cloud. As I was gathering up papers afterwards, I asked her, "What did you think?"
And what greater gift could I have received this family weekend than that, I ask you?