Thursday, August 20, 2015

edmonton, alberta

Jason drove me to a hotel in Edmonton and we said our goodbyes. he went on to Vancouver while I settled in to my temporary home. I was there for a wedding. Riley, my cousin and childhood best friend, was getting married but it wasn't for a few days. eventually, needing to get out of the hotel suite, I went for a walk in search of better coffee than the packaged kind that comes with a kitchenette. In a city of a million, I heard someone calling my name. I turned and saw Taylor, my future cousin-in-law, waving excitedly. I didn't expect to see her until her wedding day, and I was so happy. we got coffee and chatted about her big day and I counted myself lucky all over again to know such beautiful people. she's a pure heart, through and through.

over the next few days, my family and the rest of the wedding party trickled in from across the provinces, some I hadn't seen in years. everyone stayed in the same hotel, it was meeting for 11pm swims and going out for dinner every night and pulling all the chairs together in the lobby so we could be together when the conference rooms were full. I took a thousand photos of my niece. my family is huge and too infrequently in the same place at the same time.

the wedding tugged violently at my heartstrings. my cousin is the same age as me. this was the boy who was my partner-in-crime all through our growing up. we played dress up and hide and seek all over the village and ate chocolate-covered animal crackers and chocolate milk out of teapots at Grace's Place and seeing him standing there in his grey vest, waiting for his bride got me all choked up.  I don't know where the time goes. after the wedding, the whole family and wedding party celebrated together, so much love for the new couple. we didn't have a lot of time left, I was trying so hard to make the most of everything.

the next morning, we packed everything and left. stopped by their house where the rest of the family was staying and said our goodbyes. August has been heavy in a lot of ways, but Edmonton reminded me just how far from alone I am. this family, near and far, there's strings between all of us. blood runs thick and that never changes.