18 May 2012

Auntie M, auntie m, come back!


our last visitors to town were in november of 2010 (my mom and al), but even then dave was not in town. our last visitor who came to see all of us was our friend ntina in october 2010. this week broke the dry spell! daves sister and her husband came to visit. aunt megan and uncle courtney (hereafter labeled "m/c" when present at the same activity), hooray! a breakdown of their visit...

sunday (may 13):
X and i went to the farmers market (post-pancake breakfast and mothers day flowers) to get lunch for everyone from our favorite pakistani food stand. dave went to the airport to pick up m/c and then we all had lunch together. m/c went to their hotel (lord nelson) to rest and settle in. dave took X out and i curled up in bed and listened to the birds sing (serene mothers day moment). m/c came back and dave made chicken and dumplings for dinner and we all went for a walk. this is when we discovered we had become "those people" who dribble out random factoids about their towns local history and surroundings: "this is the tallest building east of montreal" and "theyre putting in a new downtown library branch over there". damn we need to get a life. sidenote: on our walk, m/c said that halifax was reminding them of a bigger marquette, michigan (they both went to northern michigan university).

monday (may 14):
X and i did our own thing in the morning. in the afternoon we took m/c over to point pleasant park. the sun hadnt burnt through the fog clouds yet for the day and so the damp wind was not making it the most lovely time to be on the water but we found enough to do for a couple hours. m/c were really wanting to just hang around X and get her comfortable with them (she was totally fine with aunt megan but still warming up to uncle courtney). they could have gone off and done a much bigger walk by themselves but they just dawdled with us and looked for puppy poo and had snacks. i tried not to feel anxious about them hardly seeing the park, and in the end it was perfect for X to have others who were willing to go at her pace and stop and do all the silly things she wanted to do. this will be a memorable visit for her in many ways and i really appreciate them giving her their time like that. then we dropped them back at the hotel for a short break and then met back up at rockbottom brewery. X and i basically dined and dashed but at least dave got to catch up with them for the day. and then we all went to petes to pick up some desserts. these very nice low pressure days with visitors are so pleasant.

(m/c at point pleasant; aunt megan and X floating dandelions down the creek)

tuesday (may 15):
despite a big question mark for the days weather forecast, it turned out to be beautiful. at about 2p m/c came over and we all drove out to duncans cove (last time we were there was with visitor phil). we had hoped to show them the seals, but it looks like our luck ran out with that spot. perhaps they arent there yet for the season? oh well, the trail was lovely as usual though and the weather was nice (though windy). X dozed on the way there in the car so she had the energy to basically walk the entire trail (there and back) including climbing up and down the steep rocky parts. she didnt even require assistance on the way up the steep rock scramble. crazy lady! back at home we sent m/c off with a gift certificate for dinner to five fishermen.

(all of us at duncans cove; X sat throwing rocks in this puddle for quite a while; climbing back up the steep rock hill; the village of duncans cove)

wednesday (may 16):
i spent the day crippled with a headache (thanks allergies). late in the afternoon m/c came over and we went to dals campus to poke around and eventually found ourselves in daves prison-inspired building. we did get to hop on the elevator to the 8th (top) floor and get a good view of the northwest arm and a bit of the lay of the halifax land. then we shared a homemade dinner and m/c headed out for a viewing of tim burtons new movie, "dark shadows".

thursday (may 17):
X and i hit up the library in the morning and i then began dealing with another mounting headache. megan came over for a tarboosh lunch and then dave and megan went to the grocery store with X for some blueberry/pear pie ingredients. then i drove everyone down to the ferry terminal and spent the rest of the afternoon attempting (in vain) to get rid of the headache. down at the waterfront, they got "battered fish" for courtney, X saw sea urchins and a flounder in the harbor, and they all rode the ferry to dartmouth. they skimmed through the dartmouth commons and came back. dave made dinner for everyone, though m/c had given us the lovely offer of babysitting. my headache was horrible and the place we wanted to eat (bicycle thief) was booked up, or else we would have bolted. i took m/c to deedees ice cream and picked out some goodies. we all ate together and X played with aunt megan and then aunt megan made the pie (which didnt end up working out). X actually got to bed at a good time and we had an hour to spend adult chatting! what a treat.

friday (may 18):
m/c toured the nearby coastal towns of lunenburg, mahone bay, and chester in a rental convertible (what a perfect thing to do). while they were gone, X and i went to the park for several hours and had fun. m/c came over before dinner to play and X loved it. we had our last dinner together and then went for a walk in the nearby cemetery. m/c had also brought a pie from mahone bay that was X friendly, yummins (as aunt megan/X would say). anyway, we then had to say our final farewells and sincere wishes to see them again soon (christmas hopefully!).

(about to object to uncle courtney reading to her; ipad with aunt megan; animals with aunt megan; silly hats with aunt megan)

what a great visit. it took a little getting used to...having visitors in town who only spent part of the day with us. but in the end it was the perfect choice. for part of the day: they did their own thing, had their own vacation, moved at their own pace. we still got to see them every day at a place and time and pace that was (essentially) of Xs choosing. m/c didnt push for more from X than she could give and they were so very patient to let her open up to them at her own speed. and i think by the end she was very nearly herself with them (which is honestly saying a LOT) and it made me so happy and grateful. they really love her and she sees it and feels it and i totally dig it.

it reminded me that having family close by can be a really lovely thing. not that i didnt know it before, but because its not really an option for us i tend to think of it as something that is a "want" but not a "need". and its not a need, really, but i can see how great it would be for X, for ourselves, to have that closeness nearby...in-town people who love her and dote on her and care about her present and future, wow, such luxury. it would really be great for her personality too i think, to learn to share her true self with people other than us. maybe one day we can share the same city. dare to dream.

anyway, i hope i can be as great an aunt to m/c's kid(s) as they have been to X. i have very different relationships with each of my 4 aunts, but ive learned that that relationship can mean a lot as long as you both continue to show love and support and genuine interest as the years go on (thanks aj!).

lastly, that was the first time i felt like our visiting groove was just right since X has been in our lives. im glad we had such a special time with m/c and that we now know at least one way to make a visit work really well. finally, a good travel template!

**title note: not sure if i need to explain this, but auntie M refers to aunt megan, which also alludes to auntie em from "the wizard of oz". i think technically the quote is said by the wicked witch of the west but i like it and that it evokes the film which also gave us the famous quote "theres no place like home"...and that also works as a theme for this entry.

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