[PART 2] Michigan Week + Family Time!

For part 1 of the “Michigan Week” post, click here.

My original plan was just to spend a weekend in Michigan for the half-marathon and leave on Monday. I changed my plans for 2 reasons — my nephew’s birthday is on the following Friday and I wanted to disconnect for a while.

I didn’t completely disconnect. I purposely left my laptop in Toronto. I find it more convenient to write and create content with a computer than typing with my fingers on my phone. I was still up to date with my notifications. I just spent time reading some of it and responded to them when I returned.

If the definition of disconnect is complete abstinence to all forms of technology, then I obviously broke the law. With a nephew and a niece, technology was my surefire way of keeping them entertained. I wondered how my parents kept me entertained when I was a kid. My nephew and niece weren’t glued to the screens. They still had their LEGO’s and toy blocks to play with. Although my nephew had this habit of waking me up during an afternoon nap asking me to change from one Youtube channel to another.

Michigan Week felt like a mini-retreat for me. It was a moment to spend time with family — a treasured constant in my life. While I do not have a family of my own, I had a mini-immersion of the joys and challenges of raising children. Patience and teamwork are very important. I only spent a week there and I was constantly bombarded by my nephew’s energy (even during late nights) and my niece’s loud crying. I could just imagine my brother and sister-in-law facing these episodes on a daily basis while balancing other commitments and responsibilities. Also, I was able to help my brother and my sister-in-law with other duties: preparing dinner, light cleaning, collecting the trash, and playing with my nephew and niece. For me, these were simple responsibilities but it was a big load off their shoulders even for just a week.

I usually have at least 3 takeaway points. For this post, I only have one. It’s a short story. If you’d rather see the take-away, skip the next paragraph.

One Saturday, we went to a Country Fair. One of its attractions is an inflatable slide. My 5-year old nephew wanted to try the slide. He had to make his way up the ladder, wear a sack, and go down the steep slide. I wasn’t sure at first whether he could do it on his own so I tried explaining it to him. When he got his sack, he went inside, climbed up the ladder and stopped mid-way. With a smile on his face, he asked me if I could come with him. My family and I cheered him on and signaled him that he could do it. He climbed up the ladder, going higher and higher. He finally made it to the top. I wasn’t sure whether he knew what to do with the sack. He was looking at the other “sliders”. He finally caught up and put the sack on his legs, as if he’s wearing another pair of trousers. He slided down with a big smile on his face.

Still with a smile he said, “that was scary!”

I was very happy to witness that fun moment. As for my take-away, whether we like it or not, kids definitely grow up. My nephew is not yet in his high school years but gone were the days when I carried him like a little burrito or tried to understand what he’s trying to say. He continues to make me happy despite living in neighboring countries and separated by hundreds of kilometers (thanks video chat!). He is living proof that time goes by so fast — one day he likes Paw Patrol and the next day he is grabbing a yoga mat as a makeshift weapon and pretending to be in a Star Wars scene. The take-away sounds cliche but it feels different when it actually sinks in and plays with your senses.

I’m glad to be back in Toronto. As always, I greet you, dear reader, with my favorite French expression..

On y va!

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