I just returned from visiting beautiful B.C. with Brenna, our 11 - soon to be 12 - year old. In November when she heard Ken and I talking about the fact that I would be leaving after Christmas for a week to be in Tsawwassen for my dad's 70th birthday she flew into action! She promptly tore up her Christmas list and wrote a new one which sounded very much like this...
Can you please persuade (yes, she used the word persuade!) my Mom and Dad to allow me to go to B.C. for my Magic Grandpa's 70th birthday? I really want to go to see him and my Magic Grandma and my Great Grandma who is 100 years old. I'm dying to see her! Brenna
And the campaign was on. Daily Brenna talked about going to B.C. She drove a hard bargain! When we told her that it was more than we spend on Christmas for one child, she quickly assured us that we could go together with Santa on it AND it would be her birthday gift as well. (Her birthday is in January). Every so often I would see her looking a little blue and when I inquired about the long face she would reply, "Mom, if I don't get to go to B.C. for Christmas I will cry on Christmas day and spend all my Christmas break depressed in my room." We did what we could to prepare her for the disappointment of not getting to go, encouraging her to be grateful for whatever came her way, all the while knowing her ticket had already been purchased. Christmas morning she was elated to open a box holding her itinerary neatly folded into a paper airplane from Mom, Dad, Santa and Yukon Grandpa and Grandma.
And so we took off together with my sister Janette on New Year's Eve to surprise Magic Grandpa (my dad is a magician thus the moniker "Magic Grandpa"). My dad and step mom celebrate their anniversary on New Year's so we would be there to celebrate with them as well as for Dad's birthday the next day. Magic Grandma knew I was coming but had no idea about Brenna, and Dad didn't have a clue about either of us! Well it couldn't have turned out better! Dad was stunned and delighted to see me but a little perplexed by my insisting on opening my suitcase in the foyer to give them their Christmas gifts right away. They were both beside themselves when Brenna jumped out at them! What a fantastic memory for all of us!
Our days were full from the moment we landed in B.C. to the moment we left. Highlights for me include...
- Visiting with Charles and Phyllis McBeth. These family friends have known me for a looong time. Phyllis used to be one of my Brownie leaders! These folks are pure gold and it's always such a treat when I get to be with them. They're like a big cozy, well worn quilt you can wrap yourself in and feel safe and warm and loved.
- Magic Grandpa's Pork Roast and Roast Potatoes with Magic Grandma's Homemade Applesauce - simply unbeatable and legendary. I'm not sure what we love more though. The meal itself or the pork sandwiches you get for the plane ride home. Mmmmmm.... Dad and Mom are the most amazing hosts. They tend to your every need. Fresh coffee in the morning, herbal tea in the evening, G & T's at 4 pm. Lots of hugs and laughs and teasing. Lots of teasing. Poor Dad, but he makes it sooo easy!
- Heading down to the outlet mall between Bellingham and Seattle. Janette and her partner, Clint dropped us off at Tulalip where Brenna and I shopped 'til we dropped and then spent the night in a hotel. Meanwhile Janette and Clint went on to Seattle to watch the Seahawks and then picked us up on their return trip the next day.
- Time spent with dear friends who are living in Burnaby for a year. These are not ordinary folks. These are those friends that you can pick up where you left off as if you were just out of the room for a bathroom break. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE! Mike is solid and gentle and true. Karla is all the colours in the Crayola Crayon Box of 64 colours. She is hopelessly creative, incurably sincere, and in a past life I think she was an interrogator from some crime agency. She is rapid fire with her questions and before you know it she knows your most deviant thoughts and deepest secrets. She's that good. And I can't even begin to tell you how much their three girls mean to us. They are these beautiful wildflowers that are being tended in the most wonderful ways and you can't help but fawn over them. Their oldest is one of Brenna's dearest friends and so it was pretty darn exciting for her to surprise Hannah at the school doors when we went to pick up the girls after school!
- A visit with Great Grandma. She'll be 101 in April, Lord willing, and lights up whenever she sees Brenna. They've always had a sweet friendship. We call this our Pink and Fluffy Grandma because she has this wonderfully white hair and she always wears soft and baby pink clothes. She is simply darling and is a gift to all who know her.
Can she really be turning twelve? That little one I was afraid to carry out those hospital doors? Hmmm... Twelve? Funny, I met you when I was twelve. I was never the same. May this year be that for Brenna. A year of meeting with you in unexpected and life altering ways.
And by the way, thanks. Thanks for carrying Brenna and Ken and I out those hospital doors that day and thanks for carrying us still. I love you.
'til next time,