Generally I don’t like getting too excited about things. I find that it can ruin the actual event when there is to much hype around it. How can you possibly live up to weeks and weeks of anticipation surrounding an event? A wedding is one thing, but its a bit much to get psyched over a party or an event with friends for weeks and weeks.
Every once in awhile I catch myself breaking this internal rule for myself. I become overwhelmed by the anticipation of something and begin to look forward to an event with excessive anticipation, joy, and even excitement. Even in the midst of the business of September and with a schedule change coming up this next week, I have found my heart pondering the significance of this very weekend more than any other subject.
To understand you have to look back in time with me a bit. One year ago we were about a month into our Camrose adventure. I was trying to remain positive, but there were cloudy moments, complete with rain in the form of tears. It was hard to pick up and move after being so in love with where we already were. I had so many fears. I was worried about being the bread winner. Could I even imagine a world in which I souley supported my family? I had subbed a bit at this point and my experience was mostly negative. Could I motivate myself to get out the door only to be accosted by the hormones and rebellion of the youth of Camrose. Then I wondered, would I make friends? Were there any people under the age of 30 in Camrose besides us? If you look at the Wikipedia page on Camrose you may doubt this. I wondered if the connections that we made in Calgary would just be null and void. Would we manage to stay in touch with our dear friends? This is not a strength of mine, nor Robbie’s so I had cause for concern.
Hardest of all, I worried about being lonely. I could sense that my better half was on much more of a mission than I was. He had a Masters to complete. In the first place, Robbie is far more mission oriented then I am anyways. You cannot stop the man when he needs to get something done. Trust me, I try all the time. I, on the other hand, strive on being busy, but if I’m not I tend to turn into a blob. A lazy blob in slippers who can only think of when the next nap is and what I can possibly watch on my little laptop before then. Back then, my day to day life included sitting by my phone hoping for calls, learning new things to cook and bake, working when I could, and generally looking for things to do.
Last Thanksgiving, you may remember that Sarah and Lydia came to visit us. I made my first turkey, a major life accomplishment in my opinion. It was an incredible weekend. We went for long walks, ate a lot of food and enjoyed the beautiful fall colors. We were so honored to have people visit us in our little town. We were also thankful not to have to eat a whole turkey by ourselves, which would really be up to me since Robbie is not a fan of Canada’s favorite family feasting bird. Nonetheless, their visit was a great break for me in the midst of feeling some serious despair.
Then October turned into November and the months kept rolling by. I started to enjoy my work more. Things picked up quite a bit as I managed to become a regular at some of the schools in town. We managed to visit Calgary just about twice a month. If anything, the people we knew from Calgary became intentional friends that we would drive out of our way to go see. That is pretty fantastic. We became regular tea and wine drinking house guests of Tara and Stephen. In some ways it was like we never left.
And things continued to get better. We enjoyed the benefits of Camrose such as stellar pancake breakfasts put on by some church or community organization almost every weekend, hockey games, the great discount section at the Joe at SuperStore, a great faith study on Sunday nights, and new friends.
So now, we are back at Thanksgiving. I am making my second turkey, with the same nervousness. Really who enjoys removing the giblets from inside a deceased bird. Yeesh.
This year things are a little different. We assembled 20 wonderful people from Calgary and Camrose to eat turkey and a ham together and enjoy the lives that we ought to be constantly thankful for. Our dear friends Dan and Emily hosted since we couldn’t fit all our guests in our little place.
My fears have been shut down. I am as far from lonely as can. The evidence: our little 2 bedroom apartment was filled with 7 people on Saturday night after our feast, all of them from Calgary. On Tuesday morning I’ll go to a Pro-D day at my new school. I won’t sit by my phone wondering if I’ll get a call to come sub the next morning. I’ll know where I’m going the next day, and I’ll be paid to attend a staff meeting. I, after 2 long years, once again have a mission to complete.
So today, I’m pretty chuffed that we are where we’re at. Camrose may have originally been a place of lonely desperation, but this year I find myself exceptionally busy and exceptionally satisfied with how things are. I am happy to say that I am extremely excited to greet this weekend and all that it means.
Yet, this morning at Mass there was an adorable little boy with big eyes and beautiful chubby cheeks reminiscent of the adorable Friesen children, my own flesh and blood. He was about the size of little John. My heart broke a little as I thought about how my whole family would join together without me this weekend and enjoy each others company, eat a turkey, share stories, and take a dip in the hot tub.
You can’t have it all I guess. But you can be thankful up the wazoo for what you do have. And if we did have it all, what on earth, my dear friends, would there be left to truly thankful for?