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    Humans of our HOME — family

    New Family Discoveries

    New Family Discoveries

    When I was 8, my Dad pulled my siblings and I together and told us we had a half sister who was 14 and she was coming to live with us. As a young child, this was a shock, but also exciting. However, being so young, I didn't truly understand the story behind it all, and it took quite a bit of time for our family of 5 to process the fact that we were having a new family member move in. It was the beginning of my father sharing more about his past; which was both interesting and difficult. 

    My Dad was American and was born in 1948 into a military, Catholic family. He spent most of his life living in Charleston, South Carolina. When the Vietnam War began drafting soldiers, it was believed in his family that you went to war and fought for your country. My flat footed father was taught to walk with an arch, and then he enlisted. He was just over 18 years old and was shipped off with many soldiers to San Fransisco to await transport to Vietnam. It was during this time that my Father discovered another belief system: maybe war wasn't the answer. The anti-Vietnam protest movement resonated with him, and he joined in with the others at Berkley. 

    My Dad, 18 years old

    He rebelled from the War, which labelled him a Draft Dodger. This resulted in jail, where my Father continued to protest through words, and through a hunger strike. Towards the end of his hunger strike, he was admitted to a local hospital, where he connected with a priest from a local church. It was through their relationship and an underground movement that my Dad was brought to the Canadian border with a group others and fled into Canada.

    Yes, my Dad has quite the story...

    All of this was shared with us, once we learned about our half sister, Kyla. My Dad met Kyla's mom a couple of years after he came to Canada. They never married, but they did live together and they had Kyla, but separated before she was even born. My Dad didn't really have a relationship with Kyla's mom, until Kyla reached out and wanted to reconnect. Kyla came to Nova Scotia and lived with us for around 6 months, but she had her own Mom and family in BC and decided to return home.

    My Dad, age 26

    Around 3 weeks ago, I received a message from a stranger on FaceBook, who had a photo of my Dad, knew quite a bit about his draft dodging past, and stated that we were siblings. She told me that my Dad and her Mom had a short relationship shortly after he came to Canada and in 1970 she was born (he would have been 22 at the time). This was an incredible shock! Erzhi, my new half sister had finally done DNA testing and through Ancestry.Com had found my sister and I, and was looking to find my Dad. 

    We are all still trying to process this information, and make sense of it all, but it's has been pretty incredible. It inspired Kyla and I to reconnect after 25 years of not seeing each other, and not speaking much. We have plans to meet up with Erzhi in person in the near future, which will be pretty amazing. 

    Kyla and I, January 2019

    I am still trying to understand all of this, and wish so badly I could talk to my Dad about it all. I know family can be messy, complicated, and troubling; but it is also so beautiful. I have experienced so much loss in my life, but now I have two half siblings reaching out a hand, and I am ready to grab ahold and hold on tight.

    My Dad and I, 2009

    You never know how much your life with change one day, and that is all part of the journey and makes each of our stories so unique.

    I am looking forward to this new chapter, and this new definition of my word "home", with two reconnected half siblings.

    Much love,


    Holiday Traditions at my HOME.

    Holiday Traditions at my HOME.

    Christmas for me is always bitter sweet. I do always find this time of year tough, because I miss my brother dearly, and he passed away only a month before Christmas. He always made the best homemade gifts, and I miss them so much. My Dad also passed away in the winter, and he LOVED Christmas. He loved the holiday lights, the music, the food, and he went shopping crazy. He embodied the Christmas spirit, and as a result, the holiday was always big in our home. There was only the five us around, as our family all lived far away, so Christmas was the time we were together. For the past few weeks I have thought about my Dad a million times, as I know how much he loved this holiday and how much he would love seeing the kids on Christmas morning. Through all the ups and downs of life, our own Christmas traditions have kept us all going through this tough time of year, and it's these traditions that I look forward to every year.

    My brother and Dad, 2003

    The main tradition that embodies Christmas for my family is our family jammies. Each year, my Mom chooses a fabric and sews us all matching pjs. She has been doing this over 20 years! We all get to open them on Christmas Eve and then stay in them until Boxing Day. We all can't wait to open them every year, and we could give up every present, but never the jammies. Mom now makes them for our partners, the grandchildren and even bandanas for the family pets. It really is the focus of our Christmas.

     Family Christmas 2014

    My sister lives in the States, and we all FaceTime and open them together, as the big reveal is one of the main parts. This year my Mom will be with us on Christmas and having her there to open them, does always make it extra special. My Dad's last Christmas, when he was in the hospital, my Mom still made sure we all had them. 

    Christmas 2013

    When Lucas passed away, Mom shared that making the family jammies might be too difficult, and we understood, but we were all heart broken inside. No jammies? would it even be Christmas? It was like facing another loss, and a grief set in. What would we do without the family pyjamas? She knew in her own heart, that we needed those pjs to get through the holidays. We needed to feel like a family when everything else had shattered. So, she made it all happen and on Christmas Eve, we all opened our pjs, and things felt "ok" for even the briefest moment.

    Although she spends weeks preparing and sewing, and we all LOVE the jammies, the family pjs, are so much more than flannel. They are comfort, tradition, and family. They are created with love, and have become the soul of Christmas for us. As life has changed, and Christmas looks different now, what has remained constant and beautiful, is the family jammie tradition.

    Christmas 2017

    She has expressed over the years, "maybe this will be the last year," but we all know in our heart of hearts, it's not. It just wouldn't Christmas without them, and our children can't wait for them too. This beautiful tradition of family jammies has become the glue through everything, and every time I put them on, I feel like everything is going to be alright.

    I love hearing about your own traditions! Comment below and share.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!