Dear beautiful country of Canada, specifically the city of Toronto:
As I sit here and watch my last sunrise over Billy Bishop airport, I want you to know you have my heart. Six months ago we came here as a one year old family. We had spent that first year out on the road, often apart from each other for weeks at a time, and so when we came to you we were still a bit on uncertain ground as far as this whole mommy, daddy and daughter thing was concerned. You welcomed us however, with open arms. Shortly after we arrived we watched as Audrey took her first steps on your soil. We listened as she found many of her first words here...we were just waiting for that "eh" to show up! She made her first non family friend friend here and I my first mama friend with whom we enjoyed many play dates and laughs with. We learned some of our first and favourite songs in your amazing and FREE family programs that you offer for your people. The beaver song is by far our favourite souvenir that we are bringing back to the states with us (if you don't know it, ask us to sing it for you next time we see you!). We had our first lake vacation here on one of your beautiful Muskoka lakes and Audrey saw her very first bear in the wild!! I began a new yoga journey here, teaching and discovering my passion in a new way.
We established our first routines here; going to the park with the wading pool across the street in the hot summer afternoons, weekly trips to the library a few blocks up and regular rides on the streetcars to go see daddy at work each Saturday. With all of these things, you offered us some time to stand still, to breathe and to really become a family. You offered us home.
You also mourned with us. After returning back here on November 12th, you didn't point and laugh at us and our misery. Instead you wrapped your arm around our shoulder like an old friend and said "I'm sorry this is happening". I would be lying if I said I haven't thought numerous times about staying here instead of going back. I will miss seeing your kind, fair and, has to be said, handsome prime minister's face on the news, as we say goodbye to ours. I will do my best to not begrudge you of this as we move further into the future back home!! I will also vow to fight with my voice and my vote for those things you have been the example of. Most specifically, free healthcare for all, enormous and generous support for new families especially in their first year of figuring it all out, and your open door policy for immigrants and those displaced from their own countries because of war, famine and inequalities. You have gracefully shown me how beautiful it is when we co-exist in our differences as friends. I will always tell the story of our building's holiday party, where our very jolly Canadian building manager dressed up as Santa Claus, while our Mexican maintenance man and his mariachi band played, while enjoying the tree and decorations that were put up by our Muslim doorman and ate the amazing samosas made by one of our Indian residents. I looked around at that party and felt lucky to be there and sad that I even had to think that this "could be and should be" normal in my country, and with fear that in fact we are moving even further away from that as a possibility. But still, I will fight.
In short dear Canada, I am grateful for the time that we got to spend within your borders. As a family, we grew closer together, and we are leaving today much better and stronger than when we came. It would be easy to say that this could have happened anywhere, but the truth is that I will always associate this feeling and gratitude with you. As we move on and back into our country, quite literally state by state these next six months, there will be a bit of maple leaf love that comes with me every step of the way. Our family is grateful, I am grateful. Thank you, Oh Canada.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.