This time last year I wrote a post called Remembering through role play, which was as much – if not more – about brotherly dynamics as a nod to Remembrance Day. This year was a big step forward for our family, as our youngest, until this year only a spectator at Remembrance Day events, carried a flag for the local Scout troupe in the parade that followed our town’s ceremonies. He has seen his big brother take part in this and other public ceremonies for the past five years, and it was very special to see him stepping up for his turn.
In truth, he was a wet rag when it was all over, and in need of hiding away from the world when we brought him home. The previous 24 hours had been spent at his first ever sleep-away camp with the Cubs, and it was a big deal for him. It’s the sort of rite of passage that will be appreciated anew from a distance; right now, he is exhausted from the effort of doing so much that is new, and taking on a new level of responsibility. So very different from his big brother, but thank goodness we understand him (mostly).
Tomorrow we officially start homeschooling this boy; grade four has been a big transition and one that, in the end, we feel hasn’t worked for him. Homeschooling is really something that I believe we have been working towards all along with this boy, and now is the time. I’m both daunted and exhilarated, and very grateful for the very generous homeschoolers in our community with whom we’ve already connected (and family who have vowed to pitch in).
A quite lovely reminder of what today is about can be found on the blog Sailors Small Farm.
My own father was a baby during WWII, but my husband’s father was stationed in North Africa and spent the war servicing Lancaster bombers. Our boys are very fortunate to have a grandfather who returned home largely unscathed (at least outwardly) by the war, and who survived into their early childhood. He left us a few years ago, but Grandad Roy is remembered as an amazingly resourceful man who could fix or make anything with his bare hands and ingenuity.
I remember all too well the elderly man who spent hours upon hours pottering in his workshed at the bottom of the garden, a cigarette pinched between his lips as he concentrated on the workings of something or other, but love to imagine the stories that live on of him as a young man, a person I never knew. Always restless and full of focused energy, Roy was known in wartime for foregoing essential daytime naps under the hot African sun in favour of hunting. I can imagine how popular he must have been, showing up with some fresh meat for a meal, after endless rations of bully beef.
Remembering one individual in this way is, for me, a tremendous reminder of all of the unique and individual lives cut short by war. Lives that might have been.