Family Traditions

Since we moved to Ottawa, my husband and I, and then the kids when we had them, have usually spent Canada Day out at his grandparents' place in Smiths' Falls (about an hour from us), with whatever segments of his side of the family showed up. They had a house on an acre, across the street from a farm - lots of room for the kids to run around, or tents to be set up for spillover sleepers, or baseball or horseshoes. When it got dark, two or three of the men would brave the mosquitoes to set off a wheelbarrow full of fireworks at the bottom of the long, sloping front lawn while the rest of us huddled by the house, periodically running inside to escape the mosquitoes (or comfort a child who didn't understand why fireworks have to be so jesus god LOUD). In recent years, when it got a little too much for Nana and Grandpa to have everyone at the house, my mother-in-law rented a cottage nearby and we would bring them out for the afternoon and/or the fireworks.

Last fall, we moved Nana and Grandpa to a retirement home in Brockville (still about an hour from us). It's been hard for everyone - for them most of all, of course. I still forget that the house and the beautiful gardens and the enormous oak tree that we would sit under in the back yard belong to some other family now. Getting old, not to put too fine a point on it, sucks donkey balls -- although I guess it's preferable to the alternative.

So on Canada Day, we packed the kids up and drove to Brockville. We met Matt's Aunt Kate, who I adore, and her husband Fraser, who I adore equally, at their hotel, and then went over to Nana and Grandpa's apartment. We visited them, then walked down the street to the downtown Brockville Canada Day festivities while they napped, then brought them to the hotel to sit around the pool while the kids swam. They went back to the home for dinner, then we went to their apartment and had a perfect view of the fireworks over the water from their window. They got to have family with them, on their terms, for Canada Day. I felt like we had all been given an amazing gift.

And there were no mosquitoes.


Julie said…
sounds like a good new tradition. gotta take the family when you can get them.
Nicole said…
Aw. I'm glad you had a great weekend. I myself have giant mosquito welts all over my body. The little suckers are biting through JEANS. I have one on my boob. I am one giant itch.

But I feel sad for you and the loss of the acreage. It's hard to let go of that stuff.
Pam said…
Sounds like a great way to shift the tradition. We brought ear muff ear protectors this year and it was a whole new level of happiness.
Shan said…
Sounds like a great way to rework family traditions!
Alicia said…
What a great way to keep the tradition. Sounds like a lovely day.
Anonymous said…
Lovely! And far more soul-soothing that joining 300,000 other bodies on Parliment Hill and peeing in a well used portapottie!
clara said…
That sounds really lovely. Kids in a hotel pool is sometimes just about the best thing ever.

Not to say that I wouldn't miss the hell out of the house with the lawn ...skeeters or no skeeters.

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