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How I Spent My Summer Vacation - Mo's Journal
July 11th, 2006
07:58 pm

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation
C. and the kids and I went to Winnipeg for a week. I was born in Winnipeg but didn't grow up there. Both of my parents did and most of my extended family is still there, so I tend to refer to it as my ancestral home town. Doran has been a couple of times on his own, Zara went with me to a cousin's wedding (but she was a baby so it doesn't really count) and Kendra had never been.

Because I've been estranged from my parents since they disowned me when I came out at age 19, and because they insisted that the rest of the extended family ostracise me as well, I didn't really have much connection with family or family places for a long time. After Doran's birth, some of the relatives did defy my parents, and I have had an ongoing relationship with one branch of the family for some time, and they are the ones we were visiting.

We met at my grandparents' cottage at the beach: Pleasant View Cottage in Winnipeg Beach. My Zaida bought the land for $600 in 1964 (paid over several years, because he didn't have $600), hired someone to put up the frame, and then built it with his bare hands. In recent years a couple of rooms have been added. It's a lovely, homey place with lots of room for hanging out and a big yard with a porch and a playhouse and swings. It's across the street from the beach.

There were 19 of us there for Canada Day weekend - my brother and sister and their families came up from the Twin Cities and aunt and two cousins and their families were in residence along with us. It was a lovely long weekend. We spent a lot of time at the beach; we barbecued a lot; played board games; went for walks; fished off the pier at Gimli; poked around beach town shops; and talked and talked and talked. I got to meet in person for the first time a cyberfriend of mine who lives in Winnipeg and whom I've known online for about 15 years, and her kids, which was a real treat. Doran had some sort of allergic reaction followed by an ear infection, so I got to experience Canadian medicine again :-/. The kids had a great time, and got a sense of connectedness with my side of the family from it, I think. I told my ex afterwards that when we were first having children this is something I never thought I'd be able to offer them.

On Tuesday, the sibs returned to the Twin Cities and things got a lot quieter at the beach. On Wednesday, we packed up the cottage and moved on to Winnipeg proper, where we also had a lovely time. We saw the new Superman movie, went "glow bowling", listened to way too much Abba (my little cousins love it and infected Zara), did a great boat tour of Winnipeg (Fun Fact to Know and Tell: Winnipeg is the third largest rail center in North America, after Chicago and Boston), saw a good IMAX movie (Deep Sea with Johnny Depp), ate in my relatives' restaurant, did some shopping, visited the places I remember visiting as a child, and talked and talked and talked. The kids all had a great time. Kendra's quite ready to move there :-). I don't think she will, but we might send her there on her own, or her and Zara together, another summer.

I found out while there that my father is not doing well. He has pretty advanced Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. My mother is feeling very alone, my aunt tells me. I wish there were something I could do to help, but really can't.

One thing I was struck by this past week is how different my life is from that of my aunts and cousins. They've lived all their lives in one place. Everywhere they go they run into people they know - as do I - but they run into people they have known all their lives, which I never do. They see people they went to school with or whose parents they know, etc. And they frequent the same places they did as children.

My parents moved away and didn't have that experience, but they regularly go back to Winnipeg, so they have had the experience of returning to the place they grew up and seeing all those people and places.

By contrast, I have neither. I don't live where I grew up and I never return there...

It was a lovely vacation and a really sustaining, nurturing family experience. I'm so grateful to be able to have that in my life, for my sake and for my children's.

I was offline for close to a week. I've been trying to catch up on my friends' list, but probably won't go back more than a couple days.

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From:lunabee34
Date:July 12th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
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I can't imagine how it would feel to have my parents reject me on that scale, but I'm glad that you've connected with at least part of your family. It sounds as if you've had a lovely vacation. Well, except for the child illness
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From:mofic
Date:July 12th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
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The rejection was a long time ago. It was hard at the time - on my parents, too, I'm sure - but I've made a life for myself and it's not an ongoing source of pain.
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From:lunabee34
Date:July 12th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad to hear that.
(Deleted comment)
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From:mofic
Date:July 12th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
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Thanks. As I said elsewhere, it was a long time ago. And since teens being rejected by their families when coming into their powers is a big part of X-Men canon, I can file it under Write What You Know.

And LOL on the sick or lost rule. I guess an ear infection isn't so bad in the scheme of things.
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From:rachel_martin64
Date:July 12th, 2006 03:38 am (UTC)
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Does this mean you're a Canadian citizen? Do you get to flee when Jeb Bush gets elected? I'm so jealous.
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From:mofic
Date:July 12th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
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I am a Canadian citizen, and a USAmerican one, too. I got Canadian citizenship through birth and USAmerican citizenship through my father, who grew up in Winnipeg but was born in the U.S.

I don't get to flee, though. I'm coparenting with my ex, so I'm in NYC until our youngest graduates high school.

I think if we'd stayed together we might have moved to Canada once same-sex marriage became legal. We only moved to the U.S. because she's a U.S. citizen who was in Canada on a student visa and had to leave when her visa ran out.

I do get to carry two passports, though. Does that make you jealous? It makes me feel like The Jackal when I use one to go in to Canada and the other to leave.
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From:momma_geek
Date:July 12th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
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It sounds like a lovely break and it's wonderful that you've been able to reconnect with some parts of your family. My family split up over a family business problem 15+ years ago, so although it's not the same as being singled out, I can understand the sadness of family splits.

And you met Hadass? I am so jealous! Of both of you! :)

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From:mofic
Date:July 12th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
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I'm sorry about your family split! At this point my siblings and I are pretty much split down the middle - 3 of us are estranged from our parents and the other three are not (and are estranged from all of us). I hate feeling like we're in two camps. OTOH, I hated it more when I was in a camp all by myself.

And yes, I was very happy to meet Hadass and her kids, who are totally adorable. I left her name out because I have never asked her how she feels about her name on blogs, but I guess the description was clear enough. She knows my cousin, btw, because their kids were in the same daycare...
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From:hitchhiker
Date:July 15th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
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sounds like a wonderful vacation - i'm glad you have some relatives with more sense than dudgeon!
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From:mofic
Date:July 16th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. It was a lovely vacation and they are lovely people.

The one disappointment was I really wanted the kids to see auroras, because they never have, but we didn't see any. Oh well, next time, I hope.
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