my hotel phone rang hella early. "room service", they said. only 'they' was my brother trying to prank me. "i'll get him back", i thought. only i didn't. i was too wrapped up in the beauty of the day that i had forgotten how it started. [he is so lucky].
before i knew my brother was coming to see me on christmas day, i had made a list of things i wanted to do to honour my mom and dad. the night before, as mentioned in my previous blog, i served christmas dinner in regent park in honour of my dad. he loved food and family more than anything else, after all. but today? today was about my mom.
i remember it as if it were yesterday. i arrived at princess margaret cancer centre to have dinner with my mom one night when she was undergoing radiation and she began telling me how she cried that day. my mother never cried - at least not admittedly - so she had my full attention when she began telling me how she saw a 'homeless man' scurrying through the garbage that day, and eating anything he could find. "could you imagine?!!", she said. without hesitation she opened up her favourite spider-man wallet and handed him a crisp $5 bill.
my mom, who was battling cancer and had every right to be selfish, wasn't selfish. instead, she was compassionate and generous.
so you can see why i decided to dedicate my 'operation hydration' to her this christmas. and it was extra meaningful to have my brother come along for the ride.
"let my humanitarian career begin!" he said, as we got out of his truck. oh how he makes me laugh.
we walked around toronto for a good few hours, talking to anyone who made eye contact, and handing out water and socks to anyone who wanted some. we weren't alone either; dozens of people were out doing the same thing. vans full of people, in fact. my heart was in a good place. so much christmas cheer.
everyone was so grateful and chatty. a man was in tears because he saw my brother's dog and missed his. a deaf guy started talking to me when i handed him a pair of socks. i had no idea what he was saying, and yet i walked away thinking about how beautiful our conversation was. our whole day was beautiful. even when my brother feared for his life and asked me where i was taking him. [did i mention that he makes me laugh?].
jeff and i went for lunch after, which was nice, before he dropped me off at home, where i was surrounded by love, too. 'auntie b' filled a stocking - my stocking - with good cheer. 'grandma robson' gave me a gift card, the kids spoiled me with a cool journal, and cards that i can send to my peeps, my neighbour bought me a rad puzzle, and my housemate sharon bought me a flying lesson at the brampton flying club because she knows how much i love airplanes and saw how excited i was when her son dan flew one. i felt so loved and taken care of. God really does put the lonely in families. [psalm 68:6]
i couldn't help but smile when i sat down at the dinner table and saw the ever so popular "christmas cracker' sitting on my plate. unbeknownst to sharon, these were my mom's favourite and a tradition in my house growing up. as i cracked mine, memories flooded in as if my mom and dad were right there with me.
presents are great - especially thoughtful ones - but presence is better. thanks to everyone who made my Christmas so meaningful. my church, the community at regent park, my brother, the people that stopped to talk to us downtown, the robsons, and especially, God. i'm so very thankful. xo