The day after I submitted my first and most recent article for this new column, everything changed. I learned that my daughter and grandbabies were heading back from Newfoundland! Our Newfoundland adventure, as a family, was ending as quickly as it started. Newfoundland found a permanent place in my heart and I will always appreciate the experience.
Almost ten months ago, I flew over to Newfoundland on a seat sale, rented a car, explored the area and found a big, old Newfoundland house on the Atlantic Ocean. Within the first five days, in a quaint ferry town on the south western tip of the island, I was hooked. I went because that is where my daughter was headed and I wanted to be near my grandchildren.
That decision involved remodelling the house, emptying the equivalent of several tractor trailer size loads of stuff from the home, shed, basement and property. Ripping out green shag carpets, green cupboards, pink flooring, blue toilets, and endless amounts of colourful wallpaper filled my days. With the help of many locals and months of tears, sweat, broken toes, more gallons of paint that I thought was even possible, days of exhaustion and lots of creativity, problem solving and TLC, the walls of this adorable place enveloped our family.
Newfoundland also presented many challenges along the way. My daughter had to rent an apartment for two months in total, to be near the two largest hospitals on the island. Her twins put up a battle to arrive much earlier than expected. An extensive stay for the newborns in NICU on the other side of Newfoundland followed. All of the travelling and logistics involved in keeping the family united and many other medical events, complications and life issues created an endless and damaging stream of challenging times.
That adversity in Newfoundland, though, served a purpose. That adversity reminded us that not being near an extended support system was hard. Not having people to lean on, help out, come in when needed or be nearby in a crisis, was the most difficult part of our journey. Although I always knew that I was blessed to have most of our extended family and friends living in our same town, or at least a manageable drive away, it wasn’t until I felt totally alone, overwhelmed and exhausted one day that I knew the true meaning of home.
Home isn’t where we live or hang our hat, home isn’t the walls that surround us, home isn’t an address on a piece of mail, the view out the window or where we put our head down to sleep. Home is actually where we feel supported, nurtured, loved, cared about, appreciated, empowered, inspired, excited, hopeful, respected, protected and safe. When we have these things, we can manage wherever we are. When we are lacking any of these things, it is not home anymore.
Although things didn’t work out long-term, in that classic Newfoundland town, a new family has now taken the reigns to continue to love and cherish that adorable Newfoundland house. That century old organ and antique wood furnishings still have a home there, the stunning sunrises continue to light up the morning sky, the birds will always squawk and fish just steps from the front door and the out of this world natural landscape of Newfoundland will be forever etched in our memories.
I am grateful for the wonderful, kind and helpful people we met (and who looked out for us) along the way. Thank you, my loves. I am grateful that I was able to take thousands of beautiful photographs of the many places we explored, from coast to coast. Even though I bid farewell to that unique chapter in my book of life called Newfoundland, it is so amazing to be home again.
I am grateful I now have two grandchildren who were born in Newfoundland. I am grateful we have added a motorcycle trip to our bucket list, in order to see a few more places on the east coast that we didn’t get to yet. I am grateful that my oldest grandson developed a bit of a Newfoundland accent, to delight us. I am grateful that any of the drama is behind us, at least for today. I don’t hold my breath though; life can be tough. It all depends though, on where we focus.
“The difference between and adventure and an ordeal is attitude.” ~ Bob Bitchin