Oh Canada, you beauty, you. What a spectacular country you’ve become.
You don’t look a day over 150, despite the climate change. Now, here you are on the cusp of another birthday, and my wish for you is to grow and evolve with the times we’re facing, but never forget that you are rooted in the values of democracy, equality and peace.
And never lose your sense of humour. That’s key.
I am grateful to be Canadian. I’m thankful my children are growing up here, too. Sometimes I wish we also lived in Bermuda, but don’t take that personally, Canada. You know this heart of mine is all for the true north, strong and free.
I love our seasons. The warm summer sun and road trips to a cold lake. I adore autumn and the hues of crimson and orange leaves that rustle in the crisp air. I love the first snow fall of the year and winter walks in the woods.
But this year taught me spring is a lie, so Bermuda is option B. Next spring, I choose it.
This past year, I’ve failed at being a Canadian in so many ways. I’m not living up to the stereotype. I didn’t go to a single hockey game. I did go to several lacrosse games, because it is, in my humble opinion, the better of our two national sports (she says hiding behind a moose).
I slept through the Raptors NBA win (What? I was tired). I didn’t curl, ice skate or ski. You’re welcome. Yet, I did catch a fish. I apologized to the fish, cracked a joke about why size matters, and humanely released it. That’s Canadian, right? And while I didn’t paddle a canoe, I did do doughnuts in a paddle boat until I was nauseous. Worth it.
I didn’t drink a single Canadian beer. Know why? Have you ever tasted gluten-free beer? No, you haven’t, because that face you just made at the suggestion of there even being a gluten-free lager is an accurate assessment of what it tastes like.
I didn’t eat back bacon either, but I did soak my gluten-free pancakes in maple syrup. I ate a beaver tail too. It was layered in sugar, cinnamon and drizzled in lemon juice. It was not gluten free. No regrets. Totally worth it.
I apologized, on average, four times a day for something I didn’t do to someone I didn’t know for something that didn’t even require an apology. Sorry about that. How cliché.
But I’m not sorry I rolled my eyes every time I heard a Canadian rage on about American politics. I get that it matters on a global scale, but I find our own political shenanigans fascinating. I think we focus too much on the circus south of the border and watch the spectacle of the ring leader with the same bizarre enthusiasm as we do reality television. I believe that which we fear, we create. Way to go Ontario. Now snap out of it.
Canada, your future is bright. You’re growing up just fine. It’s not easy. You’re not perfect. There is work to do and always an opportunity to change. Steady the course. Forge a future that focuses on equality, democracy and compassion for humanity.
Don’t ever forget that’s what we stand for. Don’t let your people forget it either. That’s my Canada. Happy birthday. Cheers to you.