There are five people in my immediate family. My parents, who imigrated here from Portugal with nothing but a small suitcase full of clothing and some pocket change, got married in 1972. My dad was able to find a place to live in Toronto after being in the army for several years and was thus able to sponsor my mother, who had no idea how cold it was going to be that fateful day in February. A year after they married, my sister was born. I was born in Hamilton five years later and my brother completed our family four years after that.
My dad has worked as a labourer his entire life. It's pretty cool to be able to say that my dad helped to build part of the Canadian National Railway. Afterwords, he worked in cement finishing for several years before opening up his own company in the same field. My mother found work as a seamstress but after moving to Hamilton, she ended up with a commercial cleaning company where she was overworked and underpaid. She also cleaned homes and apartments during the day. I didn't spend all that much time with her as a kid since she would be leaving for work just as I would be arriving home from school. I remember when I got older that I used to go to work with her after school and travel by bus to all of the office buildings she worked at. I would help her by emptying the waste baskets or vaccuuming. She would always treat me to a caramel sundae, a popsicle, an icee or some other goodie. It didn't matter what; I was easy to please. Now, she only works during the day.
We used to live in downtown Hamilton but looking back it wasn't the best area to grow up in. My grandparents bought that house and we moved to the Hamilton Mountain. I spent most of my life in that new house. I met my dear friend Kelly soon after moving in. Many fond memories were created in that place. But sadly, in 2004, my parents decided to sell our home of 21 years. While we were all excited to move into a bigger and better place, we still found it very hard to say farewell to a home and a neighbourhood that meant so much to us. Given that I have a difficult time dealing with change, it was very tough for me to accept the fact that I would never be able to take my future kids back to see the inside of the home where I grew up. Fortunately, I didn't have much time to focus on that. My bridal shower was booked for three weeks after our move in date and the wedding was only months away. My dad did so much in the short time period to ensure that the house would look presentable enough for our wedding guests.
My sister is married with an adorable 2 year-old boy. She moved away from Hamilton but is only about 15 minutes away from home. She is also a French teacher, just like me. What can I say? We both excelled at French and we just can't get enough. My brother is recently engaged to an incredibly smart woman. He works as an accountant and is dreading his qualification test tomorrow. He plans on getting married in 2008 and moving out to Brantford to be closer to his job. That will leave my mom and dad alone in a big, rather empty house. It's sad because I've always felt a sort of coldness in that house. And I'm sure my mom feels it, too. I mean, it's nice staying over. It's like a virtual bed and breakfast. And we are making many new memories in that house. But it never really feels like home. After moving 6 times in my life, I am certain that I don't want my little girl to experience the same sadness of leaving behind familiar places and people as I have. I want her to forever think of our new house as a home. I want her to be able to bring her future kids back to this place to feel the warmth and comfort I once felt growing up. I really do.