Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Angels are Coming!

Yes, it's true. A couple of weeks ago, I got the fantastic news. After several months of bracing myself that my various international little angels would not be visiting this summer, a twist of wind blew fate the other way and both (both!) of my out-of-country sisters will be coming to visit.
What does this mean? Well, first of all, it means that my Dubai Angela and Angel will soon be meeting Baby Angela (our beautiful latest addition who arrived last September) for the first time, and I'm sure they'll be doing their best to "babysit" her from day 1. My younger sister tells me the story of speaking on the phone with Dubai Angela, who announced to her last fall, "Auntie, when we come in the summer, I'll be four and a half, so you can leave baby with me and take a nap or go for a walk!" (oh, to be four and a half again and think that four and a half is old!).
The California Angels will arrive shortly after, in June, and then the party will truly begin. Luckily, they'd met Baby Angela this winter when she and her mommy took a little trip south, and they took turns "babysitting" too. Ah, the fun.
What else does it mean? It means that Ottawa will be loud, filled with that gorgeous, ear-splitting decibel of children everywhere, in the back yard running through the sprinkler, in the kitchen asking for peanut butter and honey sandwiches, under your arm momentarily when you manage to scoop them up for kisses before they run past you to go fight over a toy or finish a game of tag or tea.
There is nothing I love more than watching my parents with their grandchildren, the conversations that take place between a child who still stares at the world with wonder and a parent whose wisdom and lifetime of experience has shown him its reality. Last summer, a couple of days before Dubai Angela went home, she and Grandma had the most beautiful conversation on the carpet in the living room after night prayer. The rest of us listened as Angela asked Grandma why she couldn't go back with them to Dubai, as she painstakingly explained where everyone would sleep, how there was enough room for everyone there around the supper table, convinced that if she solved this one little problem Grandma and Grandpa could get on the plane and come back with them... My mother evaded, pointing out that she hadn't bought a plane ticket, that maybe there would be none left, and finally saying to Little Angela, "but I can't live in Dubai - Ottawa's my home"... It was beautiful and sweet and funny and sad all at once, and you could see three and a half year old Angela growing up with the realization that sometimes you have to be apart from the people you love, sometimes it's not as simple as getting a plane ticket...
I don't think I'll ever forget that conversation. It reminded me of one I had with my Grandfather, long ago, on his veranda in Alexandria, the moment between my mother's father and I, his kind, knowing smile, my young mind struggling to understand. I used to cry each summer we would visit Egypt, when we'd get in the car to leave Alexandria for Cairo, and again, when we'd get in the car to drive through Cairo one last time for the airport. I'd look behind me at the waving hands and cry and cry, and ask why they couldn't all just live in Canada with me. I remember learning Little Angela's lesson and growing older with that knowledge. I remember, when I was little, it not being enough that I would see all those loved ones soon. And now it is enough. And now I'm grateful.


Anonymous said...

Almost as beautiful as the Habs getting eliminated :)

noha said...

you awful awful girl!