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The cost of family success in Canada

I've often said my parents have given me the strength and confidence to disappoint them at every turn.

I've often said my parents have given me the strength and confidence to disappoint them at every turn.

My mother and father -- by bringing me to church and being true to their home city -- gave me the stability I needed to reject God and get the hell of out of town.

That might sound inharmonious, but it actually helped me learn tolerance toward people who are different. I never had to learn to embrace people of different cultures - they were making my breakfast in the kitchen and calling me "dear."

And I loved them long before I realized I had the option not to.

My siblings took a route similar to mine. My parents used the classic template - hardworking Dad, stay-at-home Mom — and produced a writer in Toronto, a painter in Halifax, and a permanent student in Edmonton. Sometimes it seems like the only thing the two generations have in common is the debt load.
It's a diverse brood, for sure.

There's my brother, Andrew, who is possibly the most effortlessly nice person on the planet. He makes Elmo look like a big jerk.

There's my sister, Erica, the most book-smart of the four in my estimation, though she's probably the least world-smart since she's decided to live in Edmonton.

And there's me — divorcee and atheist extraordinaire.

The exception that proves the rule is my brother, Jeff — who has made up for his three childless, nomadic siblings by being an electrician who stayed in the same town and who has alone (though I understand his wife helped) given my parents five grandchildren.

Every time the other siblings see him we all breathe a big "Thank you" under our breath for taking the pressure off.

I've been thinking about family a lot lately because it's become clear to me that I might never see them again.
Before you start checking my apartment for bad poetry, what I mean is the chances of myself and my other family members seeing each other at the same time, as a unit, seems slim to nil.

The cost of a successful family in a country this large is the price of a divorce in others - you part ways and promise you'll see each other if you're ever back this way.

I have to make a reunion happen. They'll want to go to church or something, but I'm going to convince them to come to an atheist's meeting.

Mom says I can do anything I set my mind to.

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