Friday, July 9, 2010

Cumberland Family

Like anybody, I love my family. I rely on them to keep me honest (who better to set you straight when you have some crazy idea than your sister?? Let me tell you, nobody can say the things that your sister can say to you.. without being assaulted anyway) But in recent years, we have been so far from family, that I have had to settle for daily phone calls (alright, MULTIPLE daily phone calls) to keep from feeling lonely, and out of the loop.

Then we moved to Cumberland House.

Everyone gasped and said, “You are moving WHERE!?!?!”, I kept telling everyone that we had heard nothing but good things, and It had even been referred to as, “the Cherry of the North”. So again we moved, packed up in boxes, leaving the familiarity of small town life, dear friends, and so many memories.

An amazing lady (who happened to be a 20+ year RCMP wife) once told me that when they left their
northern post, she cried, and the whole time she thought, ’I would have never thought I would cry leaving this place”. But, she had brought her second baby home to that post, and consequently, she would always hold fond memories in her heart of that place. I can’t help but hear her words echoed when I reflect back on our time here. We too, brought our second baby home to the only house she’s ever known, in Cumberland House. Now, here’s where the idea of family comes into play.

In a very short amount of time, you begin to realize that the bonds you form with the people you meet up here will last forever. The friendships formed are perhaps more intense than those in the south where there are distractions such as malls, movie theatres and restaurants, but in no way shape or form, are these friendships formed in an ulterior universe outside of the real world. They are friendships that so closely mirror family. For better or for worse, you are together, in some cases whether you want to be or not. Like any family, you fight, and argue, but always, always strive to make it right (ie. 3am face book messages! Haha). Because, what is life, especially up here, without your family?

Ben looks to everyone up here as auntie’s and uncles. He spent many hours following Jeff around his yard, asking question after question as Jeff patiently answered them, always letting him help, and making him feel special. Ben’s favourite place in the world is at Ryan and Lisa’s, where he has his own little bowl (always filled with M & M’s and ‘red chips’) where he can watch one of the 200 Disney movies Lisa owns.
Belle doesn’t fuss longer than 10 seconds before someone scoops her up and entertains her. They both know where all the fun stuff is at everyone’s house (The Johnson’s have a guitar and keyboard, Jeff and Nicole had a Tonka dump truck full of little cars, Ryan and Lisa have a pantry that any kid would love to see, and Colby‘s room at the Gardiners). My kids feel like they are at a family gathering every time we all get together (which is almost daily!), and they aren’t too wrong, because this HAS been their family for the last two years.

So like anyone who is moving away from their family, I’m sad, and a little scared. Moving away from here is the end of a lifestyle we have grown very accustomed too. An open door, and a house almost always full of some of our favourite people. A few weeks ago, the night before Jeff and Nicole left, we sat in the backyard in our screened tent (a necessity up here) and talked and laughed until it was way later than we thought. The next morning I heard a song, and it totally put my feelings into words,

“Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and stars and pulled that rope tight?
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it get better than tonight? Tonight”

But, like all good things, this too must come to an end. And now that the end is here, I am even more certain that like all good family, I can expect them to show up at our new house, in our new province ready to talk and laugh long into the night. I also know, that wherever their path takes them, we have a place to stay in almost every small town in Saskatchewan (and maybe Alberta… right guys???)