In Canada, Thanksgiving is winding down as people across the country plunk onto their couches their bellies filled with turkey, pies and all the delicious goodness that the harvest brings. I wondered as I sat down to type this blog tonight, a cup of hot decaf early gray tea by my side, how to approach the topic of thanks.
Of course I am thankful for my family and friends. I am also thankful to be living in a country full of such beautiful weather and colours. I am thankful we are all healthy. These are the obvious tributes of thanks this weekend.
Our family took a different approach to Thanksgiving this year. We went on a mini trip to Ottawa, Ontario. Mr. L wanted to fit in one race this season and we stumbled upon the Fall Colour Run coordinated by Somersault Events in the colourful city of Ottawa a couple of months ago. “Why not?” we asked ourselves. A little family getaway could be fun and being a family who likes to explore new places, we booked it.
A part of my traditional soul regretted forgoing the crazy Thanksgiving dinner where my sister cooks a delicious meal relegating me to sous chef in my own house while trying to fit in visits to two sets of parents. I had not realized how alike my elder girl and I are when in a bout of unusual silence this weekend, she confessed missing the usual family gathering and having a traditional Thanksgiving meal. (To note she typically eats next to nothing except corn, bread and pie.) I had to admit as we munched on delicious pizza, duck breast and spaghetti at an empty local venue, The Black Thorn, in some ways the idea of Thanksgiving on our own sounded better than it was.
However, the weekend was fun and for that I am thankful. Mr. L finished his race well. The kids got to do a 1 km Wylie Ryan’s Turkey Trot getting their own medals. We showed them the wonders of Parliament Hill, Byward Market and the Canadian Museum of Nature in our nation’s capital city. I am thankful I have a curious little crew who did not mind walking the streets of Ottawa with their parents finding wonder in every statue we came across.
But, as a parent of three what am I most thankful for this weekend? Patient people. Traveling with a potty-training toddler has its ups and downs. We had a lot of downs as our increasingly vocal Jacob announced at every restaurant he had to pee or poo and then would refuse to go but still complained about his sore tummy in increasing louder tones. Multiple visits to restaurant or coffee shop washrooms passing the same smiling server. Pulling the potty out on the road at an empty park begging him to just go and the boys on bicycles passing by who pretended we were not there. For these people, I am thankful.
I am thankful for naps. Naps that allowed the five of us to have a bit of downtime and where all was peacefully quiet for a little while. I am thankful for the waiter who smirked in good humour as my kids hung off the bars at the Moulin De Provence in the ByWard Market while my kids munched on cookies, I tried to drink a lukewarm coffee and Mr. L scarfed down a late lunch. I am thankful for the market vendors who did not mind little hands grabbing trinkets off their tables or the people at the check-in desk at our hotel where the kids had to wait until our room was ready, pulling brochures out of their holders.
All of this patience was a force that held up my own resistance to give into frustration (for the most part) that can come when families travel together. For the kindness and patience of others, I am thankful.