Act 1: Have a Celebration for Friends
I decided to kickstart "A Year of Kindness in 365 Acts" on my favourite holiday of the year: Canada Day. The reason that Canada day is my favourite holiday even more than Christmas (yes Christmas!) is for a few simple reasons. First, the weather is usually fantastic! I am not a huge fan of winter even though I live in one of the coldest countries on the planet. The second reason is that a parade goes by our house which is epic. Now, it's no Macy Day parade, but for our little city, it's quite the annual event.
Every year, we set the BBQ and have our friends over to watch it, and then we walk to a baseball field to watch the fireworks. Our whole street is shut down and lined with red and white chairs, flags and balloons. My son, Benjamin usually has a couple of friends over. I love watching them wave their flags and catch candy thrown from the floats. We have a couple of friends eating burgers, having a cold beverage, and chilling out in the sun. For me, it is a blissful day of joy. Andy, my husband, enjoys it as well, even if he usually shouts to our city council member that our municipal taxes are too high. Other than that, it is usually a jovial affair.
This year was different. Of course it was, with all of the isolation and covid cases still present in our province. In Ontario, we still had self-distancing protocol in place. We were allowed a "bubble" of sorts with 10 or less, but some of us still have high anxiety about it all. However, with isolation, different struggles crop up than our physical health. We as humans are not meant to be isolated. That, I know for sure. I have high anxiety in the best of times and the last 6 months have only exasperated symptoms. So, although having friends over for dinner seems like a normal occurrence, for me, it is a bit of a hurdle, particularly this time. But, I really wanted to do this because I know that they had been struggling too.
So, I threw pulled pork in the slow cooker and got to work. Usually, I worry our place is a disaster zone. Being creative, I am not a great lover of chores but I wanted to be sure I disinfected all of the surfaces that they could come in contact with just in case. My friends are wonderfully kind and creative too, so they look past all the worries that I see. I separated the chairs as much as possible and had hand sanitizer on the tables outside. This was a different kind of Canada day. I knew that even though it was the same holiday, in the back of our minds, Covid still hovers over us.
For me, the heavy weight of covid made me want to make this gathering more ridiculous . So, I themed it a Canada Day meets Margaritaville mini party. I bought and pulled out from storage Canada day hats, flags, plastic flamingo lights, leis and everything kitschy I could grab that was affordable. I decorated the deck like the dollarstore seasonal section just exploded onto the scene. Then I gave them food, drinks and dessert until they were stuffed to the brim.
Then I watched all the joy and laughter.
Benjamin had got a slip and slide water carpet that him and Andy ran and slid down. Andy toppled over and almost went head first into the fence. We laughed hysterically as our dog Marty jumped over him. Ben broke out in laughter when he surprised his dad with the water spouts on the carpet. There is nothing more uplifting then hearing your child laugh.
It almost felt "normal" again, or I guess, it almost felt like the past again.
The biggest thing I look forward to in the future? Hugging my friends again soon.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Theresa