Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks for the Giving

It's Thanksgiving Monday today. Canadian Thanksgiving is very different from American Thanksgiving, which kicks off the holiday shopping season in the United States. Here in Canada it's a quieter affair; a welcome day off for most of the workforce and a time to gather together to eat with family and friends.

Last night I attended a potluck dinner with a crowd of about 20 people I didn't know. My friend, who was turning 31, hosted the "do" in what has to be one of the best located houses in this fair city. Nestled in a well-populated neighbourhood but set apart from all the other houses, it sits atop a little knoll and is surrounded by a forested gully and 360ยบ views of the mountains.

What makes this house truly amazing for me is that it was the childhood home of a man who was my closest playmate for the entire time I lived in the Yukon as a kid. His and my mother were best friends so he and I were constant companions up until my family left when I was seven years old.

Just this past summer my parents came to visit me and we drove to this neighbourhood to have a look at the house. Only we couldn't find it. We kept driving around and around looking for the knoll, trying to figure out where it could be. We were unable to locate it and we gave up, deciding the house must have been torn down.

When my friend invited me to the Thanksgiving/birthday potluck and told me the address I recognized it immediately. She gave me the directions and I realized where I and my parents had gone wrong. There was a sneaky turn-off we had not seen.

Sure enough, when I drove there last night, I missed it again and drove around the neighbourhood in confusion. When I retraced my route I saw the secret road and made my way up the long driveway, experiencing what can only be described as total recall.

The house has changed a great deal so nothing seemed familiar when I walked in. But I went up the stairs and into the bedroom that would have belonged to my young friend. I found what I was looking for: a closet where he and I had pulled down our pants and showed each other our pee-pees. We must have been 4 and 5 years old. Ha!

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving Monday? The passage of time. Funny memories. Coming full circle.

Being brought back to that room gave me the opportunity to pause, to remember that I was once a child, to connect to who I was at that age. I was a girl with her whole life ahead of her, exploring the unknown, daring and fearless. She turned into me. And I am still her, three decades later, alive, awake, astonishing.

Inspiring Message of the Day: All of us were children once: bold, innocent, curious. Life is always giving us opportunities to connect to the past, which, if seen in the right context can make us grateful in the present.

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