Memories

The summer of 2017 is passing by very quickly. One minute you are anticipating an event, and before you can blink, it is just a memory.

We celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary in the middle of July, and a week later, our daughter turned 50. We took her to High Tea at MacKenzie King’s Estate (he was Prime Minister during WWII), and then walked around the grounds enjoying the flowers and birds and the stone ruins, brought over here from many buildings in Europe which had been bombed.

Then, a few days ago, our whole family, eighteen of us,  got together for the first time in nine years. My husband and I, our 4 daughters, 4 sons-in-law, and 8 grandchildren! Our daughter who lives in Vancouver, was on her way back from a trip to Sweden, to visit her husband’s family.

Two of the sons-in-law had had birthdays in the previous week. Then there was our daughter’s 50th, and one of our grandsons had turned 18 a few days before. Lots to celebrate!

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At the top are our two oldest girls, followed by our two youngest. We had dinner together and our waiter kindly took the bottom photo.

Nine years is too long to go between these larger reunions. In 2008,  our girls were in their 30s and our grandchildren were aged 2 – 11. We were a sprightly 63 years old, but these people are keeping us young. In spirit if not in body!

No matter what the next nine years brings, I will treasure these moments in my heart forever!

Thanks for sharing in our celebrations. – Maureen

 

A Tender Moment

One day in Montreal.

It’s funny how a specific moment can tug on our hearts decades later. This little story goes back to another time, another place, and another family.

More than 40 years ago, we moved from Ottawa, to Montreal. I was eight and a half months pregnant the day we moved in and gave birth to our fourth daughter two weeks later.

A few months later, a new family moved in next door. They were originally from the Philippines and their children were close in age to our own. When they moved in, they had five children, and she was pregnant with their sixth. She had a boy to bring their family’s total to four girls and two boys.

They were a lovely family, whose names all began with the letter “R”. Roberto, Regina, Raquel, Rowena, R…., and Raphael.

A couple of years later, their cousins from the Philippines moved in with them for a few months, until they found a home of their own. This family had six boys. They called themselves the MAPSERs, because their names started with those letters. So there were now five adults (including one Nanny) and twelve children living next door.

As far as we could tell, they all got along and there was never a moment when the kids disturbed the neighbourhood. A couple of days after the MAPSERs moved in, in the middle of May, we had several inches of snow, and those boys were all out playing in the snow in their SOCK FEET!

The youngest boy had a twisted foot, so he limped when he walked. From my kitchen window, I saw the twelve of them walking to the school bus every day. One day this little boy was having a difficult time because the school bus was coming and he had fallen behind.

His cousin, Regina, looked back and spotted him limping along. Without a word, she stopped, went back to him, crouched down, and waited patiently while he climbed on her back.

I think of all of them often. I think of the boy’s surgeries and hope that they were successful and that he now walks straight and sure-footed. I think of Regina, wordlessly offering her back to her little cousin. I pray God’s blessings on all of them.

A house full of adults and children.

A house full of love.

I was privileged to see a tiny example of this, one day in Montreal.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Have a wonderful day. – Maureen

 

Thanksgiving Weekend

Flowers in the Market in Montreal.

We just got back from Montreal where we spent the long weekend with our daughter and her family.  We had a wonderful trip.

Enzo in his school uniform.

The boys, 14, 12, and 10 are busy, busy, busy with hockey – practices and games – and their parents are just as busy driving them to various rinks and picking them up again.  My husband was even recruited to do a bit of driving.  Fortunately we know Montreal well enough to find our way around quite well. 

On Saturday evening we took the boys out  to Ste. Anne de Bellevue, which is at the western end of the island of Montreal.  Carla and her sister Monica lived there when they were in their early twenties and it was nice to revisit.  We walked along the boardwalk of the little canal which is lined with restaurants and pubs.  There were amazing yachts moored there and some of the owners were eating dinner on the outdoor patios while others were dining on their boats. 

Grandpa found an ice cream shop still open on the mail street and we sat eating ice cream.  Outside. After dark.  In October.  In Canada. 

Enjoying ice cream in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

On Sunday morning we went south of the city to Rougemont to pick apples.  Carla and Vinny go to an orchard owned and operated by Cistercian nuns who also sell their jellies, honey, and cheeses in a little shop. It was sunny and warm and I know the boys ate five or six apples each and I ate four!  There’s nothing like it.

Damiano apple picking.

Cameron is tall enough to reach the apples higher in the trees.

When we got home Carla and I started to prepare the turkey dinner, but there was a little hitch.  Hockey.  All three boys had hockey and all at different times and all at different rinks.  We didn’t get to eat until 9:00 p.m.  The turkey was moist and delicious and we all enjoyed the meal.  Carla’s apple crisp made with apples picked that day was the perfect ending to the meal.

The next day, John and I left for home at 7 a.m. and were home by noon.  We drove to a little town called Port Perry in the afternoon and walked along the edge of Lake Skugog.  People were out picnicking wearing shorts and T-shirts and we even saw some children in the water.

The colours were spectacular on our drive home and we enjoyed every moment.  I hope we can remember this weekend in the middle of winter and that it will warm us up, just a little.