This weekend we celebrated my cousin’s wedding. It was a fun filled weekend with family and friends. We have a lot to celebrate because this year has been remarkably difficult for my family. It started off with my Grandmother falling and breaking her hip, a few weeks later my grandfather had a stroke and then, incredibly, my aunt (who is not much older than me) suffered a massive brain aneurism. Happily, everyone is on the mend and in various states of recovery. It was amazing to have all of the family together to celebrate my cousin and her new husband. If you had told me in March that we would all be together celebrating in October I would have thought it highly unlikely.
When I finished university I lived with my Aunt and Uncle in a small town and began my teaching career, working in two school districts. They were there to support me with a warm home to come home to, hot meals and lots of laughs. My aunt and I have always been close, but a new bond formed when I moved in with my aunt and her husband. I learned how to drive a tractor, shoot a handgun and so many other life lessons. Perhaps the greatest gift they gave me was teaching me how to think for myself. It was a coming of age for me, a time I will remember fondly and a gesture of kindness that I will never be able to repay. So when my Aunt was airlifted to Vancouver General with a massive brain aneurism, it was without hesitation that I became an instant stand-in mom to two more kids; my two cousins aged 13, 11 (in addition to my two boys aged 3 and 1.)
Over the course of our time together this spring we had many conversations about many topics, lots of laughs and lots of tears. I was honoured to be a able to give them guidance and support during a very difficult time. The best part of this weekend was being able to carry on from where we left off after they returned home to their parents.
My 13 year old cousin had a lot of questions about the recent heart-wrenching story of Amanda Todd. She spent a lot of time on her iPod texting back and forth to her friends. She was becoming quite upset (understandably) about a girl that she had never met. It was a big wake up call for me to see how connected young people are today. How a girl in Coquitlam can be instantly connected to my cousin who lives miles away. We talked a lot about safety on the internet and how choices you make now can impact your future. But we also talked about how things that happen don’t have to define who you are, and that mistakes do happen. We often forget that even though kids look old enough to handle difficult situations and stories, at the age of 13 they are still children with very little life experience and tender hearts. It was difficult to find the right words to say and how much to tell her, but with the help of her parents I think we were able to give her some guidance.
On a lighter note, a funny theme of the weekend was the “I really want a cell phone” rant from my cousin. I think she thought that I would be on her side 🙂 He dad and I both agree that she is way too young to have a cel phone (she has an iPod and a laptop, so she is connected) but we were unable to give her an answer as to how old she should be before she gets one. What age is a good age to have one? I think it would be important to have a cell when she starts driving on her own. Are there other reasons that a young person should have a cell phone?
Here is another photo from the weekend that I can’t help but share. I think it is hilarious! My dad took it just after the JP announced Sonia and Kevin were officially “husband and wife.”