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Famdamly forever

I just found a tiny plastic submachine gun under the kitchen table. There have been and will be other surprises around the house, because the boys have been here for an extended period, and they’ve found interesting things, as they do. But now my family intensive is over until Xmas day.

I barely remember the last few days, it’s a blur, except that I spent far more time with my kids and grandkids than usual, and how welcome that was. We had dinner at Anna’s on Saturday, and a Sunday roast here with Yorkshire pudding, a favourite of all, and then Anna went home and the boys stayed for a sleepover. Grampa had taken them swimming in the Regent Park pool – he dry, on the side, watching – so they were tired; we watched the wonderful Chicken Run film, wry British humour at its best, much aimed at grownups but lots for kids, and a vegetarian message — chickens have feelings too! — and then put them to bed on a big mattress on my office floor. Instant sleep, side by side, angels. He and I cleaned up and settled to jabber, again, always, by the fire.

Monday, Ed went to spend much of the day with Sam and Bandit, Anna was at work, and the boys and I played Sorry, which I lost, and Monopoly, which I lost badly, to their immense satisfaction. I finished reading them the terrific Hatchet, Eli with his head on my shoulder and Ben bouncing nearby, but listening. When the gang arrived, we put on the second Chicken Run to settle everyone down, and Ed took us to dinner at the House on Parliament, our local favourite.

This morning, they came over again to spend a last few hours with their dad and grandfather, and then Anna and the boys went in an Uber with him to the island airport, because it’s near their house and the boys love the place. And I sat down to recuperate. Eventually put away toys, did a load of laundry with another to come, ran the dishwasher. The house is breathing quietly once more, after the chaos and noise; the boys are unstoppable, and Bandit too. Poor Tiggy was overwhelmed.

In a quiet moment this  morning, I showed Ed, for the first time, the scrapbooks — as the inveterate chronicler that I am, I’d made scrapbooks — one of our first trips together in early 1980 to New Orleans and to the Okanagan, to visit Ed’s family, and to Ottawa, to visit mine; another of our wedding party in August 1981, a joyful event when Anna was three months old; and a third just of his life, with pictures and reviews of his first theatre productions as a teenager and his later career. That one he asked to take home, to digitize. A gift of our past together. We have a past together, but we also have a present and a future. How blessed we are to have retained such friendship and love after three decades of divorce.

I don’t know why he looks so serious, almost grim in every shot, he has and has always had a lively sense of humour. In one shot, Anna is wearing a sweater that belonged to Ed’s father, Ed Senior; at his funeral, the grandchildren were asked if they wanted to select an item of his clothing, and she took that sweater, dug it out to wear at the restaurant for dinner. Ed’s parents were with us; my parents too.

Family. Treasure.


A nuclear family, of a sort. Picture by Eli.



2 Responses to “Famdamly forever”

  1. Theresa says:

    This is a lovely evocation of true family, Beth. Thank you for it. (And we love the House on Parliament too. Fond memories of a Stilton soup…)

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    From one chronicler to another, Theresa … Merry Everything!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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