Family Day is Everyday

Family Day is a fairly new holiday which began in 1990 in the province of Alberta. The holiday was not recognized in Ontario until 2008. After speaking with a several families, I found only a handful of them actually take the time and make the effort to be together. I am privileged to have the opportunity to spend every Family Day weekend cozying up by a fire at a cottage in Blue Mountain. Below are the stories of two women and how they spend time with their family every day of the year.

In a quiet corner, of a busy Mediterranean market in Toronto, I had the privilege of meeting with two wonderful women. Bessie and June, both proud grandmothers, offered to share their story of family and what they’ve come to learn, is the most important part of it all.

Bessie
“I lived with my grandmother for many years,” says Bessie. She has five grandchildren ranging in age from three to twenty-two.

“I go to their ballet classes, piano recitals and watch their swimming lessons. We didn’t have too many lessons to attend when I was young.”

Bessie represents the few lucky grandmothers, who get to live close to their families and be involved in their everyday routines.

“I love taking them to movies and seeing their expressions while watching the film,” says Bessie, “and they’re real little ladies at their recitals too.”

Bessie’s parents had lived through the war and finding time to come together was an important part of their upbringing.

“My mother said to me before she passed (away), ‘I want you to always get together on holidays.’ I’d like to see my grandchildren even more than I do now, but difficult as they get older with their programs, activities and school. More importantly I hope they grow to be loving, honest and happy people.”

June
June, a grandmother of three, has family spread all over the globe.
“They all live far… my grandchildren are in Florida and Barbados, but we make an effort to get together,” says June. “ It’s special when they get to see grandma. I’m the only one that lets them have chocolate milk!”

June represents, what is now a more common relationship between families and that is living some distance apart. June Is originally from England and lived far from her grandparents, who she didn’t visit very often.
“It’s different when your family lives in separate countries,” she explains.
“You have to schedule in the festive season or summer holidays to get together.”
June’s grandchildren particularly enjoy riding their bikes, which they keep at her house. “It’s a little tough to ride a bike where they live in the Barbados. “

June’s family enjoys the Canadian cottage on the lake;” that’s different from Florida and Barbados. “

“After a busy day, at camp or shopping downtown, my Grandchildren love to look through the albums I keep and to view pictures of their parents and family members. Everyone has their photos on the computer now, mine are categorized by dates and you can flip through them and touch them,” says June.

She bakes and gardens with her grandchildren as well.
“We use video chat on Skype when we can’t visit each other. The youngest really enjoys being on the phone with me too. The most important thing is to stay connected. I love to get everyone around a table to eat. The tradition of family is important no matter what the distance may be.”

Family Day is a wonderful way to celebrate how families have evolved over the years; Regardless of their shape or size, their purpose seems to stay the same and that is to stay connected and be together.

Samantha Payne
Business Development & Community Relations
Mosaic Home Care Services & Community Resource Centre