I moved out of my parents house and left for College at 18. Over the next few years, I occasionally ended up back with them for a month here of a month there but was never again a full-time resident. In 2005, I moved from Vancouver to Oshawa, I needed a change in my life, I was partying too much and not focusing on anything else. I figured a move out east, by myself could really put things in perspective. On September 1st that year, I left my parents side, truly for the first time in my life, very few days in my life have been more confusing than that one.
My parents had always been my biggest supporters. They constantly inspired me to go for dreams and say fuck it to conservative goals. They wanted me to strive for my own version of greatness, and it didn’t even have to fit in a tradition box. They wanted me to explore my interests and discover who I was. They even supported me financially in my endeavors. At 21, I told them I wanted to bring a girl home with me during the summer, they were ecstatic, they even paid our way. At 22, I told them I was in love with that girl and wanted to marry her they were overjoyed. I got married at 23 years old, by today’s standards, that is a baby, and when everyone else was criticizing us and letting us know that we were making a mistake, they supported us and were overjoyed in the decision that was being made.
They never stifled a dream, they never told me no and they never put the idea that I wasn’t capable of something into my head. They were always my cheerleaders. The hardest part of them living far away was major life stuff. Soon after we were married, my mom had a minor procedure that went horribly wrong, she spent a long time on life support and even after recovery she has spent years dealing with the after effects. Being away from her while she was sick, was a heartbreaking thing, and you feel like the support that was offered to you was not paid back in full. I felt like I had let her down. She, however, would never let that feeling settle, because she insisted I had not. My mom was always strong, and selfless, never letting on about larger issues or problems even during the hardest of times.
In 2010 when Shauna became pregnant with our first child the feeling of distance became painfully clear. I missed my family. When you get to an age when you begin to expand your own, you want your loved ones around you to experience it with. Thankfully, due to modern technology, my family was able to spend a lot of time on Skype and Facetime and see my kids grow up to an extent. They visited us whenever possible as well. Flying in Canada is very expensive, though, and it could cost up to $4000 to fly return to see us. So maybe we didn’t get face to face as often as any of us would want but we made due. Around Christmas this year, my parents informed us that they had been looking at maybe moving east to PEI. My Dad has been considering retirement and this was always a dream they had. They had been speaking about this on and off for a few years, though so I kind of sloughed it off as lip-service, to be honest. A week later my sister called me and we had a very heartfelt conversation about how both of us were displeased with the distance between us. Now having 2 children each we wanted desperately for our children to be raised together. This conversation left me feeling odd. That is the best way to describe it, my sister had always been the tie to Vancouver Island that my parents would deviate from. She loved the Island and was raising her kids on a hippie commune, I believe wholeheartedly that she would never again venture out again. But our conversation made me wonder if she had reconsidered some things.
I week later my mom, who is largely computer illiterate asked me to post an add for her, it was for their private campsite and trailer, they were selling it and buying a 45-acre farm in PEI. Just out of the blue, in true Nolan fashion. They gain possession of their new home next week and are moving in April, my sister and her family will join them in the summer. An 80-hour drive or $4000 flight just turned into a 13 hour day trip. My family finally can be close together. Have summers together. Have vacations together. Have memories together. This move has changed my life.
12 years I have been on the other side of this country, away from them, and now we are nearly back together, and hey, PEI is pretty damn sweet as well.