Monday, 18 February 2013

Beautiful Moments on an Average Car Ride

    You know those rare moments when you are amazed that you have the privilege of being a parent?  Those rare moments that take you by surprise.  I am always in love with my children, but there are those rare almost magical moments where there is a surreal beauty to my job.  Tonight I had one of those rare fleeting moments.  One of the moments of peace, and absolute thankfulness.
    We decided to take the kids to Red Lobster for dinner in Kingston.  Kingston is about a one hour and fifteen minute drive.  This is a rough drive normally.  It is just long enough for everyone to get on each others nerves.  It is long enough to feel endless without the excitement of a trip.  There is usually a "Mom, tell her to stop touching me!", "Grace is looking at me weird!"  "Rowan is freak'in me out!"  It is normally a very unpleasant drive, but not today.  Today was beautiful, one of those rare times where life almost stands still with the simple beauty of it.
    We were not in the car long when Riley who had obviously given this considerable thought announced "If I were ever in a "situation" that I needed back up, and I could only get help from two people, I would pick The Rock, and Clark Kent.  The Rock is super strong and if I got tired, he could carry me.  Clark Kent has super powers and he would pretty much cover the rest."  Grace then threw in "and he's a hottie."  This set the tone for the ride to Kingston.  Most of the car ride we all talked, and laughed.  There was a lot of laugher.
    The car ride home was a little more sombre.  Apparently everyone was stuffed to the gills, and was more contemplative.  We drove home past the grave of Sir John A. MacDonald.  Christopher pointed this out to the kids.  This brought about a discussion of Sir John, and the beginnings of Canada.  One of the kids then asked about who was the first president of the United States.  It then lead to a discussion about Abraham Lincoln, and why he was assassinated.  We got into a real discussion about slavery.  Riley then told us about a book that she had read in grade two about a family who had to live in their attic, and this nice lady would come and look after them.  I told her that I bet is was a story about the Nazi Germany.  This then made Grace ask "What are Nazi's?".  I was a little horrified.  I knew that I had re-told them stories that my Nana told me about the war, but I couldn't believe that I hadn't told them about the Nazis.  I had told them about Hitler, but not his henchmen.  I was absolutely horrified when Grace then went on to tell us that most of the boys in her class are obsessed with the Nazis.  "They think they're really cool!"  I let out an angry gasp.  "Do they know what the Nazi's were?" I asked.  I then told the children the horrific story about Nazi Germany as best I knew it.  I told them about how at first the Jewish people just had to tell the government that they were Jewish.  They then had to wear Stars of David on their clothing to distinguish them, to separate them.  Because no one had said that this was horrible, Hitler continued his cruelty to the Jews.  He then rounded up all the Jews, and took their belongings and made them live in slums.  I explained that slums are horrid places that are not fit to have anyone live in them.  Still no one in Germany said that this was wrong.  No one stood up and said STOP.  Hitler took this as permission and then he loaded those poor people onto trains like they were animals and drove them to horrible camps.  He separated the families, violently dragging children from their mother's arms.  They murdered those babies and children.  They murdered anyone that could not work.  Those people that could work, they made them work without food, without rest until they died.  I could at this point feel myself tearing up at the horror that these people had for their last days.  This horror that they had to endure because they believed something different than the people in power.  I told them about the heros of Germany, the people who were just like you and I.  The German people who were proper Aryans, and who would hide Jewish people in their barns, in their attics, in their basements.  The people who would pretend that Jewish children were their own children to save their lives, all the while risking their own.   I then retold them the stories of my youth.  I would sit transfixed listening to my Nana talk about living through World War Two.  My family lived in Scotland.  They had to have their curtains out of black material, because if the Bombers saw any light it was an easy target.  Nana would send her children (my Aunts and Uncles) to school, not knowing if they would return home that night.  They got to become experts on the sounds that the bombs would make, it told them how close they were.  Those children had to carry gas masks to school.  One day my Great-Aunt walked outside only to discover that her neighbour's house was no longer there, in it's place rubble.  It was a horrible time.  I then asked if the kids knew who the best most fierce fighters were.  They had all kinds of suggestions then their father and I in unison told them "CANADA"!  I finished up with "Someone needs to tell those boys what Nazi are!  I surely hope that if they knew they would be deeply ashamed!"
    So now you are thinking that this was a dark conversation.  It was, but I was happy that my children were suitably horrified that anyone could have done this to another group of people.  I hope that I made it very clear that horrible things cannot be done, unless others choose to pretend that it isn't happening or simply look the other way.  It was dark, but I felt better knowing that I had told them something important.  Something that I should have already told them.  The car was briefly quiet.  We turned the radio on.  The "darkness' cleared as we all shouted out Taylor Swift's "Trouble".  Most of the words were wrong, but there was real enthusiasm.  We got all the louder at the chorus.  All six of us were shouting it out.  It was pure joy!
    Last night I sat on the couch reflecting on our afternoon / evening.  I felt at complete peace.  I got this silly little satisfied grin on my face.  The car ride to Kingston was silly and fun.  Our meal was delicious.  The kids were well behaved in the restaurant.  The car ride home, was serious, but sometimes serious is good.  It ended with us feeling like one, joined in silliness again.  It was one of those nights that I felt like the world was a good place.  I had the right job.  Motherhood is my life calling.

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