If I knew then what I know now, would we have still moved? Without a doubt I would answer yes. People have asked me if I regret moving when we did, seeing my dad passed away 6 months after that. I spoke to my parents everyday when we moved, either on the phone or webcam. My dad would webcam us every morning to talk to the boys. As selfish as it is, I am glad Colby has the memories that he does of Dad, the ones before he got sick and ended up on oxygen.
If, at the same time, someone would have told us that we would end up in a community that welcomed us with open arms, that we would make friends that are just as close if not closer than family, I would have laughed. There is no way I would ever believe that an aboriginal community would accept the "white family", and support us through good times and bad. (We had so much support from the community when our house was broken into it was amazing). I have landed an amazing job, thanks to the encouragement of the women who work in the building that I do. Rob has earned the trust and respect of the community, and everyone says how happy and proud they are to have him running "their store". He has been asked to be part of a focus group here in town, a group that is trying to promote Ile a la Crosse and increase employment. I have earned the reputation as a really good photographer, and I now have people that won't let anyone else but me do their pictures (including people that live out of town). My boys have surrogate grandparents here, and I have women in this community that treat me like their own daughters. We have amazing friends here, so much that we have planned a 3000km journey this summer with them throughout the west coast.
This June marks the 3rd anniversary of us living in the North. In that time, our family unit has grown stronger than we could have ever imagined. Our children are independant, strong, beautiful boys who are non-judgemental and accepting of everyone. They know what it is like to be discriminated against because of the color of their skin and I hope that this has instilled a tolerance and acceptance for everyone. I see it everyday with Colby, and I hope as Joey grows he will be the same. Our marriage has never been stronger. We have learned to rely on each other for everything, and I feel I am a better person for it.
The point of this ramble, you ask? Well, I dunno actually. I started this post with the intention of showing off "the beast". Rob has always wanted a truck, and with the new toys we have acquired through some great deals ($300.00 for a skidoo, hello!) we wanted something to be able to haul them around. Rob has become quite the negotiator, and has managed to negotiate a deal for the truck (brand spankin' new, full warranty!!) for almost the same price as we were paying for the Explorer.
The one thing I have learned more than anything else over the past 3 years is to enjoy life. Our kids are only going to be young once. We only have one chance to make lasting memories. People think I'm crazy sometimes for never leaving the house without a camera. I'm not taking pictures, I'm capturing memories. The boys and I often look back through pictures we have taken over the past few years and talk about them. It keeps the memories alive.
Do I see us leaving in 5 years? Not at this rate. We have an opportunity that many don't get. We have jobs that we love. We get paid good for them, and we live in a beautiful area where if we want to, we can drive a quad down the middle of the road to go to the store. People don't honk if you stop to talk to someone on the road, they just go around, and if there is a line up at the store when you're buying groceries, well, you at least get to find out the latest gossip. People don't get mad if you forget something, and hold up the line while you run back and grab that one thing. We love this town, and it loves us. "The Beast".