Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Long Walk Home

Today, my sister Michelle (I have two) did a presentation as part of her program at Red River Community College. She is in the Creative Communications department there, and was required to do what they call and IPP...Independent something Project. She chose to do it on our Grandpa on my dad's side.

My Grandpa died when my dad was 14 years old. He left behind 9 children, ranging in ages from 3 to 22 at the time of his death, and his wife, my grandma. The whole family has had a hard time talking about my grandpa, and this was a very emotional experience for all of them, as I know it was for Michelle.

On November 26th, 1970, Grandpa was killed by a train. They have never determined how or why his car collided with that train. I know that it was incredibly hard on all of my Dad's siblings, and himself, because whenever he is mentioned, there is a sadness. No one wants to make anyone sad, so we, as the grandchildren, have collectively, asked very little about him.
Michelle decided to change all of that. She interviewed each of my uncles, and my aunt (yes, only one of those 9 kids, was a girl!) and put together a book about this incredible man. A man who loved to laugh, who didn't have any time for a hobby, because he was too busy playing with his kids, a man who was loved so deeply, it physically hurts those who knew him to talk about him. But talk they did.

Today, we watched her presentation. From the moment she opened her mouth, I was bawling. You have to understand. Michelle lives her life as though she was not given tear glands. She never cries, but today, she cried most of the way through her presentation. It was terribly sad to hear her tell the stories that my Aunt and Uncle's had recounted to her....Auntie Marlene and Uncle Ted had already bought Grandpa an ash tray for Christmas...Dad was shovelling the snow from the driveway so that Grandpa could park his car there when he got home from work...Grandma was doing some sewing as she waited for her husband to come home from work. Stories about the day he died, and other stories, from his life that I've never heard, about a man I never had the chance to know.
It was an honor that Michelle chose Grandpa for this project. An honor to all his children and grandchildren, and to Grandma. I wish I could have known this man that my father misses so much, but at least now, I can have the memories of his kids and wife in this book, "The Long Walk Home" by Michelle Cattani.
Michelle dedicated the book to Margaret, David, Don, Glen, Barry, Doug, Steve, Ted, Marlene and Tim.
Thank you Michelle, for this tribute.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sign Up Day...

It's that time of the year again, when parents think about digging out their cheque books; deciding whether the money they have to put out for their kids to play an organized sport is going to be worth it. Especially considering the amount of complaining that often happens when it's actually time to go to a game or practice, never mind the homework that certainly doesn't stop just because it's baseball or soccer season again, or in some families like ours, the fact that you may not have enough vehicles to get all the kids to their respective practices and/or games.
Last year, we had two kids in baseball. That is four nights per week, PER CHILD. Thank the Lord that Kelsey has her own car, and was able to get to all of her games herself. Unfortunately that also meant that we didn't get to attend very many of them.
Then we needed to consider that we have little ones. Last year, Khai was two and his bedtime was quite still is for that matter. Are we supposed to keep him up later, so that he, and both Helmut and I, could see the games? Or should one of us go to the game and the other stay at home and watch Khai (and this year Declan)?
I remember my dad telling me stories of playing football at the school fields, and hockey in the streets, (even if they were in organized sports) they loved to play, and did so, at every opportunity. When I think of the struggle it sometimes is to get our kids out to play the sport we've paid money for them to play, I can't help but think something is missing. Of course, we are terribly proud of the kids when they do play, and do well at something they've been working so hard at. It is nice to see them doing something they enjoy, once we get them out there. I guess I just wish it wasn't such a fight to get them there, and finish their homework and make dinner and....
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for any of these things, and so as I write this, Helmut is out signing up Bretty, and seeing how old Khai needs to be to play, and all I can say is, let the madness continue...

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Have you ever been SO tired that your man looks at you, moves closer to you and asks how you got your black eye? It's not until you inform him that they are simply dark circles under your eyes, that you realize that you aren't hiding your exhaustion as well as you'd like to! The one day I decide not to put make up on. *smile*
These days, getting out of bed seems harder and harder to do! I thank God everyday that He's given me enough sense to know that I have to get up for my kids! I don't think I would have the strength to do it otherwise, of course, I wouldn't be so tired if I wasn't for them; vicious circle!

My patience often wears out when I'm this tired. But kids are amazing aren't they? I can be at the end of my proverbial rope, when Brett will tell me that he has a new password for logging onto the computer. At first, I get upset, because he's not supposed to have a password, then he tells me that the password is "ilovekhai" and my heart melts. Or Khai, who tried my patience when we were getting Brett's skates sharpened today. He wanders around Play-it-Again Sports, looking at every piece of hockey equipment, telling me that we need to buy it, no, not for himself, but for Declan...who is three months old. When I tell him he's too small, that he can't even walk yet, he tells me that, "it's for when he's bigger Mummy!" or, "Maybe Bretty would like it Mum, don't you think he'd like it?" Not once did he ask for anything for himself.
Then there is Justin, who couldn't sleep for two days because he was so worried about his girlfriend in the hospital. Or Kelsey, who bought everyone a treat from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory...just because.

and all of a sudden, I'm not tired anymore.