2722Km in 3 days is a long way to travel to live out a dream. 2722Km is is the distance between my old home and my new one. 2722Km. What a trip.
Last August, my best friend and I decided to get married. It wasn’t an extravagant sort of thing. It was the two of us and our witnesses on a small piece of land overlooking the South Saskatchewan River, just outside my hometown. It was beautiful. What was significant for me that day (apart from the obvious) was that the two young women we had lived and worked with while in Regina were a part of the ceremony. These two phenomenal individuals were gracious enough to stand at our side and support us unconditionally. These two young women whom, not four years earlier had no connection, trust or desire for a relationship with us; they were here on this most important of days. That August day, I was reminded of the power of relationships. I was reminded that these kinds of relationships change people, and that family isn’t always about shared genetics. These kinds of relationships soften our hearts, and strengthen our souls. These kind of relationships make lives better. That August day I realized just how blessed I have been to have been placed in the path of these incredible people.
About six months ago, my husband Todd (who worked alongside me in Regina) and I decided that we were going to move. We shortlisted a few cities here and there, and eventually landed on Ottawa, but it wasn’t without some serious trepidation that we made this decision. What gave us pause was that we would have to leave behind the relationships we worked so hard to develop with the youth and with our colleagues. Our time at the agency was drawing to a close, and we felt that we could better serve the community in other capacities; we were ready for a new adventure of our very own. We were ready for something new and different. That said, every day since I left, I miss the girls I was blessed to live with for over three years. I am grateful for instant communication and social media, as these tools help keep us connected. I’m even more grateful for cars and airplanes because these things can bring us physically closer together from time to time. I miss my staff, and the staff my husband managed. I miss their creativity and ideas. I miss their passion for making the lives of the youth we served better, even if we were only able to do so for a short while. I miss the frenetic, chaotic environment that a youth organization is.
The nearly five years I spent in Regina were full of self-reflection and discovery. They were challenging years on a personal and professional level. Professionally, I helped to create and then ran a program that was unique to the community and to the province; I created an atmosphere that attracted a team that worked tirelessly to provide homeless and underhoused youth with appropriate, supportive services in their times of crisis. I coached my staff to become better versions of themselves, and in so doing, became a better version of my own self.
I worked with an agency and helped it “grow up” from an innovative grassroots, 10-person team to a staff of more than 110 with an agency budget exceeding 3 million dollars annually I didn’t do this alone, of course, but I was an important part of the team. Personally these last five years were full of growth because I have spent them recovering from my 20s, finding my feet and learning that I matter. I am important. I belong.