Feb 12, 2021 Message to Members
“What the world needs now…”
It’s old fashioned and can’t be hurried. It shines. We’re blinded by it; we’re crazy for it, in it, and addicted to it. It’s a rollercoaster, a shack, a gamble, and a bridge. It’s tender and strange, tainted and stupid. It’s higher and deeper, and modern and precious. You can’t buy it; it’s a miracle and gets us every time. It’s the fate of fools like Chuck E., and it makes the world go around. It tells a story; it finds a way; it saves the day. It’s groovy and endless, and we can’t help falling for it. We cry for it, jump for it, believe in it, and get lost in it. It turns us around, lifts us up, and stops us in our tracks.
It has everything to do with it! And once a year, it rules the day in BC and most of Canada.
I know you think I’m referring to that day, but I’m not. I remember my introduction to that day and, of course, it was shaped around a classroom of sorts. At five years old in Edmonton, I did not attend kindergarten but went to playschool. They were essentially the same: we attended in the morning, we took naps, we held firedrills (a challenge for me), and – on that special day – we gave out cards. The cards were a complex construction and, if you happen to be more mature, you may recall them. They were punched-out of a booklet, involved folds, tabs, and slots, and even came with instructions: some assembly required. I remember trying to understand why I had to give a card to every classmate. I didn’t want to give one to Stuart – I didn’t like Stuart – and I wasn’t crazy about that girl who never wanted to play tether-ball with me, either.
How traditions endure. The national expenditures in celebration of this day challenge belief. While Canada’s annual price tag is roughly 37 million dollars, the United States eclipses we Canucks by shelling out approximately 22 billion dollars! For florists and for chocolatiers, it’s all about February! One-third of America’s flower sales are happening right now. Reflecting on school age experiences and inordinate expense, it is easy to understand why half the Canadian population chooses to give February 14th a miss.
Thank goodness for February 15th, the day at the heart of this post and my double dose of joy this year.
On this day, my baby turns 22. Snap! I know, right: how in the world did that happen so fast? I remember when she arrived as if it were only yesterday. Friends had shared with us that having a child arrive on February 14th was a bigger deal than on New Year’s Day. Apparently, on this date, some of that 37 million goes toward showering newborns and their parents with chocolates and roses – and maybe some Cupid-themed nursery accessories, too. Well, our daughter overshot that date by many hours, arriving on Flag Day (it’s a thing – really), and since then the middle of February has held a much deeper meaning for our family. And this year, our special day in February is a special day for everyone in BC.
In 2013, the government of the day officially named this Monday Family Day. Many reject the bows and arrows of the 14th for its saccharine sweetness or for lack of a sweetheart, but everyone is born into or has chosen a family. We have those people in our lives for whom we’d endure anything … everything. And for about a year now, we’ve shared a common experience and contradiction: both the aching distance between, and stifling closeness with, the ones we call ‘family.’ And we’ve endured. Even with bone deep fatigue, we’ve endured.
This week I overheard a leader advise us to “Stay close and tight with your family here in BC.” I believe it was said without irony and with full realization that, this year, ‘close and tight’ will be impossible for all those we call family. This Family Day will challenge us to include and celebrate with COVID-sense and to redefine ‘close and tight.’
As I was reminded by the grandmother of a good friend, it’s about perspective. My friend was born and raised in White Rock, and now makes her home in Fort McMurray where “feels like minus 60” recalibrated her own perspective for the meaning of cold. Her grandmother is a retired teacher who spent years in Vancouver at Prince of Wales Secondary, and she said, “When I get cross with myself that I can’t do something, I have to remind myself that I’m 93 years old… I’m not 70 anymore!”
For a while longer, we can’t roll like we used to – but we can still roll.
And because it’s big, and because it’s enough; because we’ve got a whole lotta and because it’s all we need, we’re going to put a little of it in our hearts and know we should be glad, “…yeah, yeah, yeah!”
Keep well and safe.