• Elana

family fiestas

I love my family.

Last week I was in Cozumel, Mexico with my parents, sisters and our "others". It was the first time I've taken a vacation where I didn't feel even a little stressed out about leaving, and I wasn't haunted by the dread of what would be waiting for me when I returned. It was the first time that as soon as I started to relax, and let my immune system down, I didn't get sick. (Well let's be honest, I was already pretty relaxed to begin with.) I got in plenty of dives, so you can look forward to lots of pictures, stories and analogies in the coming posts... The one day when we weren't diving or relaxing on the beach, we rented Jeeps and went on an adventure around the island. But the most eventful day was our last day at the resort, when we were celebrating my mom's 60th birthday. We had so much fun surprising her with decorations, champagne and chocolate strawberries, presents and cake. I'm not sure who had more fun celebrating her special day, but I was so grateful to be all together to celebrate as a unit, and to have a chance to show my mom how much she is loved by all of us.

Giving birthday love to my mama, in a t-shirt we got maybe 8 years ago



The mosaic tray that I made for her birthday present. I think it's my best one yet!



The Zur "unit" and mama's birthday decorations



The whole gang at mama's birthday dinner



Then we landed back in Canada and over the past couple of nights we've had our Passover seders. This gave me the chance to spend time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of my family. It's no mystery where I got my drive for "success". Talk about high standards! As I sat at those dinner tables it's remarkable what amazing family members I was surrounded by. Kind, loving people whose careers and accomplishments range from doctor to PhD graduate to vice president to lawyer to Olympic athlete (to name a few). Regardless of their accomplishments, most importantly they are people who I am so glad to be related to and I couldn't have hand-pick better people to be my family members. It's really a privilege to genuinely enjoy spending time with them whenever we get a chance to be together.

At our seders, I read something that really stuck out to me: "when our soul is a vibrant flame, we can light other sparks". It's funny how you can read the same thing year after year and suddenly it resonates with you. I hope that now that I'm re-igniting my own flame, I can pass along that light to help other people light their own sparks.

"Happiness held is the seed. Happiness shared is the flower." - John Harrigan

Another highlight of our seder for me that caused me to reflect was when my aunt told a story about when I was a little girl, and I came downstairs after playing (with my cousin trailing behind) to announce to the family that we would not be joining the rest of the seder. Very matter-of-fact. This is not the first time that young me made a declaration to the tune of "I'm not doing this just because I'm supposed to". Maybe I was just stubborn, or maybe I did actually used to have a hint of rebellion in my younger self, that started to disappear as I grew up.

Well I'm glad to be returning to my true self, the "me" that I was before I was influenced by all those expectations, responsibilities and pressures (to every one's defense, most of which were self-imposed). From rediscovering my creativity to standing up against what's expected of me in order to figure out what I truly want, I'm glad to be where I am, and I know I'm heading toward a great place.

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