My Family Day message

I wonder if some kids who had a day off last Monday, were given an assignment by their teachers. Something to the effect of “Please write a short essay on what Family Day means to you”. I used to like these kinds of assignments and because I’m no longer in school, I have to assign them to myself. So, true to form, it’s a few days late, so I’m going to lose marks for that, but here goes.

Renelle Rico

(insert your name here, you’ve been given the teacher role)

English 2001

February 20, 2015


What Family Day Means To Me


I believe that Family Day is a wonderful idea. Our government, in its endless effort to control our lives make our lives more pleasant, has decreed that, in Ontario, the third Monday of each February should be set aside for spending quality time with one’s family.

Well, it is a wonderful idea and I only wish I had been able to spend it with more family. Sorry Virtignia, of course you’re family, but you know what I mean. Try to amuse yourself while I continue on with my essay.

The very first Family Day was observed in the province of Alberta in 1990. It proved to be such a popular idea that Saskatchewan quickly followed suit and had their own first Family Day in 2007. That really got the ball rolling.


On Family Day, many people plan activities that can include the entire family, such as visiting relatives, going to a museum or a movie, or maybe just spending time together, enjoying each other’s company over a board game. Because February is usually so cold, the activities might include cups of hot chocolate, freshly baked cookies… 

This reminds me of my sister. You may remember Jo-Anne from a previous post.  How I would love to be sitting in her kitchen right now, watching her put together dinner in her own inimitable way. “I hope you like homemade deep-dish pepperoni and cheese pizza with a side of spinach salad.”  Well, of course that sounds delicious. It will turn out that she doesn’t have enough flour on hand to make the dough, but that she does have a few nice tortillas left from the other day’s fajitas, so no problem. “Oh shoot, does anyone feel like running out to the grocery store to pick up the pepperoni? Never mind, I’ll defrost this chicken and we’ll be good to go. Oops, it’s turkey – same thing right?” And that’s when I might casually ask her if she’s remembered to pick up mozzarella cheese and she would look at me like I’ve got two heads and exclaim that of course she’s got mozza cheese, what else would she use to make deep-dish pepperoni and cheese pizza. What am I, some kind of philistine? I probably don’t have to tell you that she likely wouldn’t have any spinach but does have a gorgeous head of romaine lettuce. Jo, the queen of substitution is herself, a one-of-a-kind; nothing and no one could ever take her place.

God decided that my sisters and I should have only one brother and in his infinite wisdom and kindness, he gave us the best one. A terrible stroke tried to take Jack from us, but he must have known that he was still needed here. I can’t imagine having to face my cancer without being able to call him and hear him tell me that he loves me and that nothing will do but that I get better. He’s promised to be with me through this terrible journey and I in turn try to help and support him through his own ordeal of rehabilitation and acceptance of his greatly changed circumstances. We depend on each other. Sometime soon, I need to write a post specifically about him and I know that you will see why I love him so much and why he’s such an important part of my life. In the meanwhile, every time I see or talk to him, I notice that he is continuing his incredible comeback to us with each day. My funny, feisty, busy, irreverent, gadget-loving brother is almost good as new – maybe even better!

Families, being living things, evolve and grow. Our beautiful daughters find soul mates and suddenly we have two sons to love. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that additions to the family are the absolute best. You’re probably hoping thinking that all this rambling will lead somewhere. Well, scroll down…



PicMonkey Collage

Yes, that is correct, in mere months there will be a new wonderful little person in the world who will be calling me Grand-maman. I feel fairly certain that he or she will master this somewhat difficult French word before he/she even says Mama or Papa or anything else. Why am I so sure of this? Because I’m going to be there. All. The. Freaking. Time. That’s why! I’ll be indulged in this because of my status as cancer grandma. My daughter and her partner will slowly come to loathe me as I show up for the morning’s first feeding and stay through the day until baby goes to bed for the night.

imgurcomThey will start pretending not to be home, but I’ll know better. I’ll go to the parking garage and their car will be there. Even if they turn off all the lights, I will wait by the door until I hear the baby cry and then I will pound on it like only a chemo-crazed grandmother can do. “What are you doing to MY baby?”

Aw come on Julie…Jeff, I’m just kidding. Stop that packing immediately. I promise to be a good granny. I’ll come only when invited (snicker). I’ll be helpful without being overbearing, curious without being nosy and loving without smothering. I can smother a little right?

In conclusion, it is my opinion that Family Day underlines and honours the meaning of family and family life. It has been my experience that the glue that holds most families together is the grandmother. In light of her significance to the family, she should be included in all family events so that everyone can benefit from her wisdom and loving ministrations.


That sounds like the kind of grandmother I want to be. I know you are going to be very concerned about baby’s teeth when they emerge and I promise not to bring any candy that you will ever know about. You will want him/her to learn responsibility and earning one’s own way, so I’ll make sure tmemberstripodcomhat you don’t know where we hide the money that I will secretly be giving him/her. Seeing as how Jeff is a great coach and sportsman himself, I promise that I will wear good disguises when I show up at games and scream at any other child who dares to get into my grand baby’s way. I’ll be good…

I promise…


Didja hear the one about…

Today, I am grieving the apparent demise of the art of joke-telling. You know, the kind where you actually open up your mouth and words come out and it’s funny.

Why is it that nobody tells jokes anymore? We send them to each other by e-mail and Facebook, and that’s great, but it’s so lonely. There I am, sitting at my computer laughing all by myself.  That’s just sad.  Sometimes, I even resort to this:

          Me: Honey, honey, come see this right now.

          Hon: I can’t come right now, I’m doing something.

          Me: Come right now, it’s really funny.

          Hon: I’ll come later.

          Me: NO, if you don’t come right now, I’m deleting it.

          Hon: Geez, what’re getting so mad about?

          Me: (delete)

Before the advent of e-mail and Facebook jokes, we used to get together with friends and in case you’ve forgotten how it works, here’s a refresher. After everyone’s been sitting around awhile and the small talk is starting to get a little stale, (cause you’re being cheap with the wine…I’m just saying) someone says, didja hear the one about…?  And everyone laughs. Then someone else says, that reminds me of the one about…  Which leads to uproarious laughter throughout the room,


and the more you laugh, the funnier everything is. You know why?  Because laughter is contagious!


Sorry about that, %&*# cliché just popped itself in there.

My mother was a master in the art of joke-telling. She had all the right inflections and her timing was always perfect. In fact, there is only one time that my mother forgot a punchline and I felt right away that something was wrong with her, and to my eternal sorrow, I was right.

But let’s get back to our refresher course. There are protocols when joke-telling is engaged in.

When someone starts a joke, don’t pipe up that you’ve already heard that one; your messing with the timing when you do that.  Even worse than that, would be shouting out the punchline. That’s just rude and no fun for anyone.

If someone tells a pope joke and it starts a whole bunch of pope jokes (I know at least fifteen good ones), this is not the time for your ‘doggies on Prozac’ joke.  You’re screwing up a roll; wait your turn.  If your turn doesn’t come, it doesn’t matter, because everyone knows the ‘doggies on Prozac’ joke. Say what? You don’t know the ‘doggies on Prozac’ joke? You really need to invite me over.

No matter how drunk you are, do not repeat the punchline over and over again.  That makes you look kinda pathetic.

I think that’s basically it, but feel free to add your own rules in the comment section. That’s why it’s there.

Laughter has always been very important to me.  Now, more than ever, a good belly laugh can ease the strain of a day when my mind has been occupied with less pleasant thoughts. Less pleasant thoughts have a way of permeating your brain and hanging around uninvited, indefinitely. But they’re basically cowards, afraid of even the slightest chuckle. If you start laughing or thinking good thoughts, these little traitors will just slink off, or better yet,


Here’s my health update in case you’re wondering.  I had a CT scan this week, but don’t know the results yet and I’ve had lots and lots of needles. Needles to take stuff out and needles to inject stuff in. What fun. I’m turning into a pincushion! I have all these bruises everywhere because I have tiny veins, but mostly because I stubbornly refuse to push down on the cotton ball for two full minutes. I have cancer, I’m not wasting two precious minutes of my life pushing on a cotton ball.  45 seconds and I’m outta there.