Sometimes you find inspiration in the most unexpected places.
This past weekend we all flew to Toronto to celebrate my amazing grandmother’s 90th birthday. As I sat and watched her getting her picture taken with various members of the family, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly lucky to be related to all of the people smiling around the room.
The key word in that sentence is smiling. Sure, everyone has had varying degrees of heartache, but in general it is truly a group of happy people. Happy, active people. Happy, active people who value time with family. The room was filled with people who like to run, golf, hunt, fish, kayak, ski, curl, walk, camp and bike together and with friends.
As I sat there, I thought back to the beginning of the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge and how I knew that being active as a family would be the easiest part of the Challenge for me. I realized this weekend that the reason it comes so easily is because it’s at the core of who I am. My earliest childhood memories are of things like the run from the house to the lake in Iroquois Falls that my mom, her siblings and cousins did every year. There was the Annual Family Curling Bonspiel where even though we were too young to play, relatives would tow us around the ice on brooms. I remember fishing trips, fun times playing at Big Nellie and Wilson Lakes, group rides on all-terrain vehicles, family chipmunk catching challenges (no chipmunks were ever hurt in the process), waterskiing, group berry-picking expeditions and everyone swimming across the lake and back.
As all of these memories rushed through my head, I looked back up on stage and saw Grandma getting her picture taken with her siblings. Despite losing a sister in childhood and another in her 20s, all four of Grandma’s surviving siblings and their spouses were there. It is truly incredible that these amazing people, who are mostly in their 80s, would make the trip from places like Calgary and northern Ontario to celebrate their sister’s 90th birthday. Even more incredible is the fact that they continue to be active. While in town, some golfed and they all went to a Toronto Blue Jays game together.
My extended family is a perfect example of how having fun, being active and, most importantly, doing it together, can lead to longevity. I’m not sure there could ever be a better family tradition.