When I was younger, we lived in that red house. My memories that far back are a bit fuzzy, but I will always remember your floral hippie dresses, and the way you danced to music in the living room.
I think you were getting rid of a box of makeup one time, and I helped myself to some cool products that obviously made me look like a super star.
When my sister was born, I was only six. I remember being confused on Christmas Day. Where were you going? Why was everyone panicking? Poppa said I could open one gift, but I waited until you brought her home. She was the true Christmas gift.
We lived there for a bit, at Nan and Poppa’s. I always loved their house, it will forever be my happy place. Then we built that big house in the bush, so far from everything, but our hearts were there.
We used to gather rain water and snow for baths. We ran outside when it rained to shampoo our hair. It was a really fun way to live, and I wouldn’t ask for anything else. Being the best parents ever, you built our bedroom first. Eventually, the house came together, room by room. My favourite part was when the basement was unfinished, and was essentially a big roller rink.
At eight years old, you got me a puppy for my birthday. She was the best friend anyone could ever ask for. We would run through the forest out back of the family property. She had carefully carved out trails over time. I loved her for her entire life.
Things changed in my teens. I grew out of my introverted personality, and as I changed, you were there with me, supporting (most) of my decisions.
And throughout it all, I wouldn’t change a single thing. You have taught me and my sister so many important lessons over the years. Some of them were intended (“have fun, be safe”), and others we learned through watching you deal with all of life’s gifts and challenges.
You have taught me how to be strong, even when it seems like life is falling apart around me. You have taught me to love with all my heart, but to be levelheaded in how I handle it.
You’re the first person I call when I need advice, or if I need a cry, or if I have a really great story to tell.
Thank you for always being there for me, a whole 29 years and counting.