So Very Happy Memories

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me. My parents flew back to the Czech Republic after spending 2 weeks with us for holidays. This was the first time that I have seen them since August 2019. This was the first time they visited Canada, the first time they met my daughter, my dog, my parents-in-law and have seen the way I live my life. Watching my mum holding my daughter for the last few moments before they boarded their flight broke my heart a bit. But what is a goodbye if not a little heartbreak every time?

It took a lot of time and effort to bring my parents over to Canada. I had to sort out their visa during the pandemic, their flights, and their coming through borders. My parents also do not speak English so there were many times things were going not as expected but they made it to Canada and when I drove to the airport to pick up, I will admit that I had a few tears standing in my eyes. Seeing them coming through the gates and hugging them for the first time in almost three years is something that I can’t put into words. We have our differences but parents will always be home.

And they did bring home with them. Not only my mum cooked and froze enough pierogis to feed an army of people, it felt to me like the whole house was illuminated with warmth and love. I am probably being sentimental and dramatic but I missed that feeling and I tried to enjoy it as much as possible while they were here.

Visiting in the middle of the pandemic is not as much fun as everything was closed in Quebec but we tried to make the best of what we could. We drove to Quebec City, took a ferry there and then walked around the old port. We took my parents to the neighbourhood where we lived for three years, hiked in -20C around Chute de Chaudiere, drank gluhwein in the Christmas market, got shooters of sortilege (whisky and maple syrup drink) and slept in a chalet close to the mountains.

We walked around Montreal and in the snow in our neighborhood, played a championship of Wizard card game, cooked together, watched movies and talked. My father’s anniversary also fell on these two weeks so we got a small celebration going for that. So many happy memories!

My parents already landed in Geneva and now are making their way home to Prague. I know I will see them this summer for my sabbatical and the time will fly by until our next meeting but I am sad today. I am sad because the past year has been incredibly hard – having no family close when you have a young child and when you go through a life-changing experience is tough. When my parents were here, they made me feel like a child again, they reminded me who I am at my core so that now I have all the energy in the world to keep on going. Until we meet again…

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