This weekend, I went to the Canada Day celebration in my hometown.
It was a sweet little island festival featuring Elvis, Dolly and Patsy impersonators. It doesn't get much better than that!
The festival is held at "The Flats" - a flat grassy piece of land down by the river dabbled with campsites and little buildings for cooking, etc.
For as long as I can remember, I've been going there, helping set up various town events.
My papa made the structures.
My nana cooked the food.
My mom painted the signs.
My dad competed in the events.
My cousins, brother and I ran freely, all jacked up on cotton candy and LOVE.
These events are imprinted in the very fabric of my being.
The smells. The sounds. The sights. The quality of the air against my skin.
They all elicit deep memories of a happy childhood and a devoted family surrounded by a tight knit and supportive community.
The ‘before shot’.
Before addiction rampaged through. Before illness. And divorce. And death.
Beautiful reminders were everywhere.
My mom's signs were still scattered about. Only the really practical ones were left.
"Pick up after your pet"
Even those brought goosebumps to my skin and tears to my eyes.
The Elvis impersonator played a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” - the song I played for my papa at his funeral. I completely melted down.
And as I sat there watching my son playing amongst the very fixtures of my youth, I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were there.
Even though I couldn’t see them.
And even though I secretly wished it was different.
They were there.
Deep down in my heart, I knew, that even though my life isn’t turning out the way I thought it ‘should’ or the way I imagined it ‘could’.
It is unfolding exactly as it is.
And it’s different.
And it’s sad.
And, it’s also beautiful.
All of it.
Exactly as it is.
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