Remembrance Day is one of those times. It’s the one day a year, where I sing the national anthem, look around at all of the people gathered to honour the fallen, and actually think about how everything in my life could have been so different. I think about that all the time, really. I am so very lucky to be where I am, with the people I surround myself with. This Remembrance Day was no different, well, except the first part.
Last week the girls asked me when I was going to BC. I told them that it was probably Friday, and they got a little whiny, then Yaya asked what time I was leaving. I told her it would probably be late in the morning or lunchtime. She got that sad look in her eyes and asked if I was going to miss her performance in the Remembrance Day ceremony at school. I told her that I would be there for sure, and I really meant it. It almost made me cry right there, when I came to the realization that she would want, or even care, for me to be there. It’s things like that, that really get me now. It’s one thing to have your heart filled with love for someone, but to have that returned, even in such a small gesture, means the world to me. I went to bed that night with a great big smile in my heart.
Now it’s Remembrance Day. O got herself up at 6:15 AM, so that she would be prepared for her performance. She was going to be a war widow, with two children, and she sure looked the part. We got them all packed up and took the girls to school, but forgot the camera. After a quick rip home, we get situated in the gymnasium, and await the ceremony. Everyone was getting set up, and some very mournful music was playing. A teacher explained that because of the somber occasion, there was to be no clapping after any performances, and I didn’t think that would be a problem; it’s a bunch of kids doing a Remembrance Day presentation. How good could it be? They don’t even realize the impact that these men made on our country, and the world, so how could they properly portray them in a school tableau vivant. Well, I was wrong again. From the start, it was all I could do to not clap. These kids were very good, and you could tell that they had practiced their parts well. It was so moving to see these little singers, actors and poets up there, giving it their all. I was so proud of them, but what really brought the tears to my eyes, was looking up at that little girl that wanted me to be there. I, of course, held back the flood, but what I really wanted to do, was to run up there and hug her until her ears hurt.
You see, I wasn’t just proud of her up there, I was proud of myself as well. I can’t explain it, but I felt this over-powering sense of self worth. Maybe other step-parents feel that too. I don’t know, but I’d like to hear from you if you do, because I don’t understand it. I didn’t raise these kids, so I can’t take credit for how good they are at anything, how smart they are, or how kind-hearted they are. They were like that before I came along. Maybe it’s because they see something in me that they love, or at least admire? I guess that’s possible; I’m not a psychologist. Well, not a licensed one, anyhow. When I looked over at Mrs. Birdman, taking photos of all the kids and their performances, I felt such deep adoration and respect for her. She was the main influence on those girls, all their lives. Don’t get me wrong. Their father is a great guy, and a great dad, but dads work a lot, and the moms are usually the ones who spend the most time with the kids. They are two well-raised girls, despite me, so I guess it’s just the phenomenon of step-parenting that gives me that amazing, fulfilled feeling. I thought that my life was complete with Mrs. B, but you add those two little sweethearts into the mix, and my cup runneth over for sure.
After the presentation at the school, we went to the cenotaph in Colborne, and remembered with a healthy gathering of townsfolk. Other than one lady that answered her phone during the two minutes of silence, it was a good ceremony, and there were many wreaths lain in memory. I feel great pride in my country, my fellow man, and myself on Remembrance Day. It’s not that I don’t feel that way every day, but that’s the one day, that no one asks what’s wrong while you are standing in the middle of a park with tears running down your face. I worry that the meaning will get lost on our young, as our parents probably worried about us, but I think if we continue to teach the importance of freedom to our children, they will remember, as we remember. At least I hope they do.
I’ll never forget,