If you go back into the beginning of this blog you will read me stating directly and see it in the way I talk, I am pretty much a big asshole. Mostly I piss people off because I say what is on my mind. The truth is life is too damn short to sugar coat things. I also am not the best at maintaining all of the relationships in my life. I keep it pretty close and to almost exclusively family. The friends I like are the ones who can understand we may only see each other once in a blue moon and to have a lot of god damn fun while we are spending time together. Over the past coupe of months I have realized a few things, and here is where I will say them however I want.
We have all kinds of relationships , with all kinds of people. We have parents and children, relatives, grandparents, spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends (sometimes at the same time as spouses) and just plain old pals. I put a lot of stock in the very first layer of these. My family is number one. I mean my right immediate clan the most. I have awesome parents, an amazing wife and what could only be described as the world’s best sister and brother in-law combo. Of course with them is the current top of my list my beautiful nieces. I would happily give my life for either of them and making my lights magic with Evelyn is probably the most special moments of my life (thank you Phillips hue and my iPhone for making we god damn Harry Potter. No wait it worked so that makes me Hermione, wow I am conflicted now). I truly value these relationships and the people who come with them.
My sister and her clan. My sister is a rock. I was basically a total jerk to her for her entire childhood. But she was always a good friend. In my first year of University I was having a tough time. Lots of people are ready to move out at 18, I thought I was but his Mama’s boy was not made for it. I was lonely and missed my family. Every day my sister would talk to me on MSN messenger (shut up, I am not an old geezer). That little bit of chat time made me feel less lonely and made home seem even closer (it was only a 2 hour drive away albeit). She was pretty cool about taking time to chat with me and I really needed a friend who understood me then. I quickly had lost touch with most of my pals at home but there was my little sister cutting time out for me. Her husband to be lived with me for a while in my second year in Lethbridge. He watched me fall and get stuck in a laundry basket in my closet. He was playing video games and I was a little intoxicated (let this be a lesson to all you young whipper snappers, moonshine at a house party leads to a bad night). Despite that moment he has never used it against me to laugh at me, and it is pretty much the “Brandon is the dumbest guy in the room” card. Sure my sister and I don’t always get along but for the most part she is great to me. And hey if it wasn’t for her Tiana and I wouldn’t have our beautiful home right now. I know Tiana has taken to leaning on my sister for advice as well. I am glad they seem to get along, it means a lot. As for Evelyn and baby Squishy, well they are pretty darn awesome. I will never forget the day Evelyn was born and seeing her only mere hours after, pretty cool for Courtney to let us be there so soon after. Evelyn is awesome she is the funniest kid and she really makes me smile instantly. I love her passion for everything and the life she brings to things. Even when she is being bad it makes me smile. Alice on the other hand brings one of my biggest regrets. For years I had dedicated myself to hockey and coaching. This year with a crappy group of parents I found myself in Abbotsford for a tournament. While I was sitting in an arena I received a text message that my second niece was being born. I was hours away and totally missed the day. It was stupid I was so far away from family for such a special moment and it also cost me one of my best Evelyn babysitting opportunities. However Evelyn has requested a play date with Uncle Fun in the near future, and really Uncle Fun can’t wait.
My parents. I am lucky to have two really great parents. Very different but really awesome role models but also friends. My Mom and I share a pretty similar and twisted sense of humour. We have always had a ton of fun at movies and plays together. I was pretty much always a Mama’s boy. I remember crying in kindergarten when I wasn’t assigned to my Mom’s group for a field trip (she was a parent chaperon). Then the bus broke down on the way to the zoo and the rescheduled trip would not include my Mom, I was very sad (she was in the hospital for scheduled gall bladder surgery on the rescheduled day). I remember her playing CBC radio so god damn loud on the weekend (when we were sleeping in) I thought those tax payer funded assholes had invaded our kitchen. My Mom was always throwing herself into new interests full-fledged. She would tire of many of them after a while but she went all out first. I got that from her. As adults she has been a great friend to share a laugh and a star trek movie with. She taught me a lot about perseverance when it comes to dreams. Certainly like every writer she faced a lot of rejection letters but she parlayed those letters into the motivation for a very successful writing career, one I am pretty damn proud of.
My Dad is a great friend as well. I am certain I drove him nuts for a lot of my childhood and early adulthood. I probably only drive him slightly less nuts now. I get my hard-headed side and strong belief in loyalty from him. In my early childhood I remember how cool it was when I found out my Dad had a bazooka (forget the fact it was not an RPG but a drywall taping tool, kids at school weren’t going to be hearing clarifying information). He was a great supporter of us as kids and always thought we could be great. I have written about our time at Macs in the past and hockey has really been our bridge. I love our time at Hitmen games and at Macs. I still defer to him and always look to him for advice. Not a day in my life have I felt judged and I was a real pain in the ass. I made a lot of decisions that I shouldn’t have and he was always there to help me if I needed it. Not to say he didn’t let me make mistakes and fall on my face, he was just always there to pick me up off the pavement, both of my parents were. I work for his company now and wish I could figure out the secret to make it a huge success. I am proud to be a part of Drytec it is a special company with some great goals and it is something my Dad built up on his own.
My wife is my best friend. I am a real pain in the ass but she isn’t bothered by it. In fact she just laughs at me and hugs me. I really don’t know how I found such an amazing woman and I am not sure what she sees in me, but my life is amazing because of her. I don’t have many friends because the truth is I spend all my time with Tiana. We spend every minute we can together and I am never sick of her. When she leaves for a business trip I can’t sleep because the house is lonely. I have had some of the funniest moments with her and experienced a ton of cool things. We find we try a lot of hobbies together and enjoy them because we are together. In my short time with her so far I have learned a lot about myself. I know few women as strong, intelligent and self-aware as her. I also don’t know many with the incredible sense of humour. We have certainly started a great life together and even through our toughest times have just gotten closer.
The puppies also go in that category mainly because Kaia and Bella make a lot of the bad days a little better. Right now I type this in bed with Kaia curled up at the foot of the bed. She is up here because she knows we won’t have it in us to send her to her crate to sleep. If we do tell her to go home she looks at us like we threw out her favourite toy. Bella will soon join me in bed, curled up on Tiana’s pillow where she will sleep all night. Our camping trips with them are always awesome and they are truly great family members.
Outside of the family I have only a few people who really fill roles for me. Mostly the people are friends I like or people I get along with but not a lot of high impact roles. My mom’s parents were always awesome grandparents. Grandma is in the very advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. She was an awesome Grandma, and she made the world’s best crepes. She spoiled me and had amazing patience. Alzheimer’s sucks because it takes your loved ones so early but leaves them there to remind you of the fact you didn’t squeeze all the great moments out of them. Watching my Grandma advance through the stages was the hardest thing I have experienced. It wasn’t long before she didn’t know us and was scared around us. For me every visit just really sucked. At this point she is institutionalized. I won’t lie, I suck as a grandkid, I haven’t seen her in a few years. It’s not that I don’t love her, I just am not able to really do it. It makes me too sad so instead I am selfish. I guess I will die with the guilt of being so selfish but that’s the way I am, I suck at feelings. Grandpa was always great to me too. He is in Lethbridge and I definitely need to see him more. When I was a kid I remember going to Lethbridge from Calgary with Grandpa and my Dad. We would stop at Uncle Dave’s to pick him up and off to the sprint car races. I loved those races and sleeping in the back seat of his Nissan truck on the way home late at night. A number of years ago I got to take him and my Dad to World of Outlaws in Edmonton, it was pretty darn cool and it was fun to relive that childhood memory as an adult. Grandpa played Nintendo with us all the time. I didn’t do well as a kid away from my parents. One night my parents Maverick (car) broke down when they were out-of-town. I would have to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s. It didn’t matter that they were awesome I was horrified. No shit Grandpa listened to the fucking Chipmunks cassette on his fancy stereo for hours to calm me down. He is a saint!
I have a lot of Aunt’s and Uncle’s. It isn’t really fair to pick favourites but hey I tell it how it is. On my Mom’s side is my Aunt Barb. I love that woman, she is the one you want in your corner and she is awesome to family. She also was the coolest Aunt always playing with us. We always called her Auntie Bubba and she was fun, maybe a little irresponsible the odd time but she loved to have fun and ask for forgiveness as opposed to permission. I am sure she did donuts in her car in front of Grandma’s house, with us in the car, just to piss my mom off. Going to Barb’s basically was like going to an amusement park, she always did fun stuff. In fact there is a picture of me with a couple of my cousins from her house. I have never seen the photo evidence but remember the day well. She lived in Calgary near the North Hill Mall. We were out playing in the backyard with some sort of wash off die or something. My cousin’s and I painted ourselves green, including our white asses and that is the picture she says she took.
On my Dad’s side is my Aunt Rita. Really her whole family is pretty cool. Her husband Peter has always been a great guy to me, her daughter is a free-spirited girl but has a great heart and was a cool cousin. And her son Ian is a true inspiration. He works as hard as anyone I know to get the things he wants. He is smart and well spoken, I really admire him and the passion he exudes. But Rita was always special to me. She lives across the country but every visit was special. I think maybe part of it is she is the only one I witnessed brave enough to go toe to toe with my Dad. I also was always in awe of what a confident woman she was and how she seemed comfortable doing things her way. She is successful in her professional endeavours and she is a great mom. She has great wit and definitely has one of the best sense’s of humour of anyone I know. I don’t really know what it is specifically but she has always had a special place in my heart. I don’t see her often and I doubt she knows that she is a big reason I chose Tiana in my life. Rita and my Mom have always been the strongest women I know, and I certainly found a lot of similar qualities in my spouse.
I have some pretty good relatives outside of those two but those two had a special impact on me growing up and still do have a special place with me.
There are also some relationships I miss or wish I could have. About 8 years ago I started dating a girl, her and I didn’t work out in the long run but we had a couple of years together and I got to know her family over that time. I had grown up watching my Dad have a great relationship with his father-in-law and always hoped I would have the same. For the period of time I was with this girl I had a similar man in my life. Her Dad was a cool cat and for whatever reason I really liked spending time him. And I did spend a lot of time with him. I have a lot of good memories of my time with him. And no disrespect to the girl from that period but I really miss having her Dad around, he was a good friend. One of my favourite moments with him was helping set up for the train show. I hadn’t ever been around model trains much but he was truly passionate. I had a lot of fun spending time around his model trains and learning about his hobby. I don’t know that I would get into model trains on my own but for a short period of time I enjoyed them because of him. I miss that relationship a ton. I have a wonderful wife now and wouldn’t trade her for the world but for whatever reason her dad and I can’t get on the same page. I don’t know that we will ever be as organically friends as I was with my model train friend but maybe one day we will at least get along pretty well. I always thought I would have this cool second dad relationship with my father-in-law but it just hasn’t materialized.
The other one is the one I lost as a kid. I always see those Facebook quotes about cousins. Now this isn’t a big deal to me overall but when I was little I had cousins who were my best friends. We spent a lot of time together. Sleep overs on sleep over on sleep overs. There was two of them and they were so much cooler than I was. I thought they were the coolest guys ever and had so much fun with them. I remember one particular summer when a lot of sleep overs were had. The days would be time outdoors but at night on went he Sega and we played an insane amount of a game called Road Rash. At one point some things outside of our control separated us and we never really connected the same again. It was a bummer and I kind of wonder how things would have worked out had we stayed friends when we were little. I did reunite with one of them spending a year living together when we were in university. It was nice, he got engaged that year and married that summer so he moved out. But it was a lot of fun for that year, I definitely enjoyed getting to know him again.
In the grand scheme of things I am short on friends by my own doing but I am darn lucky to have a group of family members I call friends and who are so awesome. The last couple of months have certainly been a little tough in our house with some weird circumstances going on. But if anything I have been reminded how great some of the people in my life have been and in a lot of cases still are.