Although my son, Jordan, has lived on his own for a number of years, he’s always lived on his own in Nanaimo.
He’s always been a few minutes away whenever we wanted to get together for a game of golf, a hike or just a visit.
In the last year his bartending job had him walking distance to our place so it was nice to stroll over, slide up to the bar and sip a cool one while we caught up on each other’s lives.
This is all about to change as he makes a move to Victoria next month in search of greener pastures and further education.
His announcement shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We’ve talked on numerous occasions about the opportunities available in larger B.C. cities or even in Alberta, and it’s best to make the move while his list of responsibilities (family, mortgage) is low.
I know children grow up to live their own lives and I know Victoria is only a short road trip down the Island, but still, he’s been around for the last 25 years and I guess I’ve taken it for granted he always will be there.
I now have a small idea how my wife felt when her children left to find work in Alberta. She has to make do with visits once a year and numerous phone calls. I realize I’m a lot luckier.
But, it’s still emotional.
His leaving has brought back memories of his growing up (here’s where I get a little mushy and embarrass him) from his arrival in 1986 when, thanks to my appendicitis, he, his mother and I were all in the hospital at the same time.
There were many good times and the occasional speed bump children have to throw at parents, but we survived them together and I think, learned from them.
In fact, now that he’s an adult, it pleases me to no end when he tells me he understands why I did what I did in terms of discipline and what I’m sure seemed like constant nagging.
And while I’m sure he shudders at the thought, it’s kind of nice when he catches himself reacting to a situation ‘just like dad would’.
We will miss him, but the good news is my daughter and her family are still in Nanaimo so my dad-skills won’t get rusty.
Whether they’re welcome is, of course, up for debate.
There’s an old tactic parents use to coax their children to finish the food on their plate.
“There are starving people in Africa who would give anything to have that food you’re letting go to waste,” they would chide.
Well, I’ve got news for you. There are starving people right here in Nanaimo who would give anything for that food.
A trip down to Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank for an article on the lack of food on their shelves provided me with a good reminder and a sense of shame.
Historically, donations of food to organizations like the food bank, 7-10 Society and Salvation Army drop in summer.
I know that, and yet, obviously like so many other people in Nanaimo, do nothing about it.
Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes executive director, told me a story of a woman asking for help because all she had to eat for three days was Miracle Whip.
I literally cringed when I heard that, thinking of the times I go to the fridge and mutter “there’s nothing good to eat” because I’m tired of barbecued chicken.
Or how annoyed I am when there’s not enough milk for my morning cereal and I have to go to the store and buy another jug.
Those of us who ‘have’ are blessed. And while most work hard for what we have in this life, but for the grace of God it could be us eyeing the Miracle Whip as it’s the only item in the fridge to eat.
So the next time you push yourself away from the dining table announcing you’re too full to eat another bite, please think about donating a non-perishable item to those who have so little.