I love Canada Day in a very nostalgic way – the same way someone loves a favourite home-cooked meal from Mom or a favourite cookie found in an old tin at Grammie’s house. There’s a pride in it being really special, but there is also the comfort and familiarity of home. Canada Day is a holiday (weekend) when you don’t have to do anything – it can be a day away with the family or an evening with fireworks or a party with friends or a camping retreat. There are no expectations. And I like that about it. I like that about us. Canada.
This year, I decided to take the boys out for fireworks on the Saturday before Canada Day. Nearly everything made the Saturday night fireworks better for us than the Tuesday night Canada Day fireworks would be. The location was closer, parking was better, and the kids could be up late on a weekend night instead of a weekday.
Fireworks have always meant more to me than my husband. I take pleasure in watching art fill the night sky. I like to feel the beating of my heart as the fireworks boom in my ears. I love the colour and the sparkle. I love the brightness. I love how everyone is there to get enjoyment from the same thing. After a few years of grumbling because no one (my husband) wanted to come with me to firework displays, I finally realized last Canada Day that I could make it my thing. I snuck the big boy out of bed and together we walked up the hill to catch the firework display over the harbour. This year, both boys decided they wanted to come to the Saturday-before-Canada-Day fireworks. So we went together, just Mama and the boys.
The one downside of this fireworks location is the noise. We sit near enough to actually see the men lighting the fireworks which means we are not granted the luxury of distance to ease the sound of the explosions. Cameron didn’t do well two years ago at this location and we avoided them last year for this very reason. But this year, he bravely agreed to go despite knowing that the noise could be unsettling. And Gavin couldn’t stay home when his big brother was so excited about doing something.
We sat together on our big quilt, one boy on my left, the other on my right. We grooved to the live band that was preluding the fireworks display. We waved paper Canadian flags as fast as we could. We talked excitedly about how the fireworks were coming and we waited. And then, it was time.
“Look Gavin! Fireworks! What do you think?”
“Scared!” he told me, and buried his head in my side. I covered one of his ears for the rest of the show while his other ear remained firmly planted against my body. Cameron sat on my other side tall and brave, until the last few fireworks came and he leaned in too. I never want to see my kids scared, but in that moment we were close, nothing was dangerous, and everything was beautiful.
On Canada Day, we made our first trip to the beach this summer. We didn’t want to do much, but we wanted to do something together, and it was perfect. Everyone wore red, until it all needed to be stripped off to prevent sand from filling up our house. And then, nearly everyone wore nearly nothing at all. It was summer. We were home. It was lovely.
Our extended long Canada Day weekend was perfect. It was unassuming and beautiful and it brought us together. And I guess that’s kind of how I see this place where I live – beautiful and familiar in a way that is just obvious but not assumed.
My pride for this country extends beyond this national weekend. I’m a lover of the CBC and while this normally manifests itself through excessive radio listening, I also especially love the morning television CanCon for kids. While we no longer have television (to get me through the eventual year-long maternity leave, just one more thing to love about Canada), I am thrilled that Netflix carries so many of our favourite titles, many of which are created right here in Halifax.
Our favourites are definitely Bo On the Go!, a show that helps kids get up and get moving at the beginning of their day; Monster Math Squad, a show that encourages kids to stretch their minds after stretching their bodies with Bo; and Animal Mechanicals, a problem solving show with incredibly fascinating characters and a theme song that I cannot get out of my head now that I’ve started writing about the program. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention another favourite for this book-loving Mama and her crew, Super Why!, a show about fairy tales that teaches reading and was created in partnership with a Canadian company (and an American company, yes). (Confession: I also don’t hate Caillou.)
What are your favourite CanCon children’s programming these days?
I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team and as such I have been compensated with a complementary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. The stories and opinions are all my own and have not been bought.