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Monday, February 23, 2015

Canada the Polite, America the Adventurous

Mom and dad went home last week after visiting with us for about a week and a few days.  Ellie cried every time they tried to hold her for long.  It isn’t Ellie’s fault she isn’t used to them - she does the same to Bill’s family when we visit them in New Jersey and we see them a fair bit more than my family.  It hurts to think the two people I admire most, who taught me everything I know aren’t able to be closer to my daughter as she grows up.  I would hope she could bask in the love and support I’ve known and to what has made me the loving person I am today.  She will still bask in the love I suppose but the distance between New Brunswick Canada and Houston, Texas are like moon glow as opposed to the full glory of the sun.  It’s there but it’s just a reflection of the source.  
Ellie will be more cowgirl than Canuck - will she even understand where I’ve come from?  The beautiful, dark, cruel cold of deep winter.  The warmth of a roaring fire while the snow falls outside?  The relief and wet release of a warm spring.  The cultural admonitions to be a good person.  To be polite, to let others go first, to be kind to one another.  To be humble is better than to be brash.  Confidence, not arrogance.  Stoic love of country not blind patriotism.  The belief that everyone in the society deserves access to care for their health.  To support and dignity.  That our society isn’t a mad scramble to the top but a network of individuals where EVERYONE matters.  Even the ignorant, even the needy, even the ill.  If one is in a position to help their fellow man, it is therefore their imperative to do it.  
These ideals and values are often at odds with those I find in the US.  I’ve traveled a little out there in the world, and every time I do I realize how lucky I was to be born in North America.  Freedom really isn’t free.  Being a woman in some parts of the world is like a death sentence.  A death sentence for the soul but just as easily (and often) for the body as well.  I love the country I was born in and I am growing quite affectionate of the country I am adopting.
Globally speaking the differences between Canada and the US are minor compared to our similarities.  We stand together more often than we stand apart and often criticize each other good naturally (or not) which is a sure hallmark of family.  If countries are families Britain is the parent, of course and I would say the US is the rebellious older brother who moved out at a young age and went to find adventure and fortune on their own.  They found that fortune and so now are insufferably proud and think themselves very wise.  Canada is more like the ‘good’ younger brother who stayed close to family and for that reason isn’t half as proud, or interesting.  Historically, anyway.
I hope we raise a global child as at home in the quiet solitude of a New Brunswick winter night as she is the riotous rodeo afternoon in Houston.  I hope she experiences the world in such a way she realizes both how lucky she was to be born here but also how much more we can improve.