Friday, August 24, 2007

chip off the ol' rock

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if my parents had never left Newfoundland at the age of 18.
They got married and left "the rock", then had me two years later at the ripe old age of twenty.
It must have been so difficult for my mom, especially as she is one of eight kids and they are a very close family.
She's the only one to have left the island and do something a little different with her life.
That's not to say that all the siblings that stayed close to home haven't had a successful and happy life.
But in some ways growing up else where was great.
We travelled quite a bit as kids, there was lots of opportunity for my parents in terms of their careers, we lived in many different towns/cities across the country.
There was always a sense of adventure growing up.
New school, new friends, new bedrooms & houses.
which, when you are a kid can be super fun. (or daunting depending who you are talking to)
My parents seemed to like change.
Otherwise I doubt we would have moved close to 15 times growing up.
We lived in three different houses in one town alone.
It helped to build character, and in some ways unite our little family of four.
We were all we had. Each other.
But with all that change came a lot of loneliness. Especially for my mom.
I think for years she really felt a longing to move back. And still to this day.
Mostly so my brother and I could experience what she did growing up.
A big warm, loving, sometimes dysfunctional, crazy, fun loving family.

Well 38 years have passed since she left, and after going back a few weekends ago I can feel her pain, and understand why she would miss it so much and feel so torn.
When we arrived at the airport, I think there were 15 people waiting for us- despite the fact that we had rental cars reserved. it's just the way they do things in the east I guess- or at least that's what my family does.
Here in T.O that would be considered a royal pain in the ass.
no thanks. take a cab and we'll see you when you get checked in to the hotel.
Out east staying at a hotel is considered ridiculous- there were numerous invites from different aunts and uncles to stay with them.
But big daddy & I decided to stay at a hotel anyways- remembering our last visit.
Did I mention that they like to party? and that at around 2 a.m they are just getting started?
umm no thanks. life is pretty different with a two year old waking you up at 7 a.m.
not that interested in screech or double rum & cokes these days.
But they all mean well and are so hospitable and fun.

All my cousins are such sweet sweet kids.
I'm the oldest, and the rest range from 14 to 21 years old.
great great kids.
and all really close to one another.
Not your typical teens with attitude at all.
I was really impressed.
It's hard not to wonder what it would have been like growing up around so many aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.
They are all so lucky in that respect.
Especially now that we have Lulu.
Friends are great but's family..

Newfoundland is pretty in a rustic kind of way, and I wonder if in some ways if life would be less complicated living in a smaller community.
Less is sometimes a good thing.
No traffic, CLEAN air to breathe, people are really down to earth, less crime, surrounded by the ocean, big family get togethers all the time.
and did I mention the ridiculously low housing prices?
crazy low compared to here.
But then again....

As much as it would be nice being closer to all my relatives, the grass can often be greener-
especially in Newfoundland.. I didn't mention how badly the weather can suck..lots of rain and fog, though fortunately not while we were there this time around.
I'm sure it's not all family sing alongs around the piano all the time either.
There must be some drama here and there, it's just that we didn't stay long enough to notice any.
It's nice to think about living somewhere else, but the bottom line is that I love where I live.

I'm glad my parents took a risk when they were young.
I'm so happy that they exposed me to so many different things that I never would have seen or done had they not left 38 years ago.
And my family is here.
as small as it is.
and the best part is that if we need anymore than that, the rest of my crazy, fun, partying relatives are only a short flight away.
And maybe this is a really good thing.


Gabriella said...

I can really relate to this, on one hand I have only my mom here, the rest of my relatives are in Brazil, and my husband has almost all of his family here in town which can drive me nuts some days! At least Newfoundland isn't too far away to get your family fix. 10 hours for me by plane is soooo far away!

kittenpie said...

Oh, I know this. I'm pretty glad my mom left rural Iowa at 17, too! Still, there are lots of cousins and my wonderful grandma made me feel like her own on every trip.

amanda said...

I have a huge family as well (both my mom and dad are the youngest of seven). And I feel the same way about going home. Love being around my family. But I love it here too. I think it makes me appreciate them a whole lot more than if I were there, that's for sure.