We try to make the 2-hour drive to Ottawa every few months to see my mom, and hope that in between our visits she will come and see us. Considering how close we live to each other, we somehow only manage to see each other about 6 times a year. This is due in part to the fact that my mom makes periodic trips to Japan that last anywhere from 1 to 2 months. My mom adores her only grandkids, and she gave herself the name "Oma". Sounds German, doesn't it? :) Well, my mom hates the word "grandma" or "obaasama" in reference to herself, so she came up with Oma ("oh" means "big" or "grand" in Japanese + "mama" which of course means "mom"). The kids took to it quickly, and although they don't understand much Japanese they love our visits to or from Oma. This is mostly because they are so spoiled by her attention. :)
My mom was never a hands-on kind of active mom. She would colour, read a book, or play Japanese card games with us. But you would never catch her throwing a ball, playing hide-and-go-seek, or even high-fiving us for that matter! So, it's really cute watching her with the kids because I know they're going to try to make her run around, pick them up, sing, etc. She just laughs it off. Here's Oma looking on as the kids colour a bit:
Here are Kira and her daddy relaxing a bit. Kira is watching cartoons on the media player, while Daddy watches his show on his new iPod. Both of them are wearing headphones, completely oblivious of the outside world and Mommy snapping this photo:
During our weekend in Ottawa, we took some time for ohakamaeri (visiting the grave) of my dad. I can't believe this December will mark 10 years since his passing already. His ashes are buried at Beechwood Cemetery, a gorgeous place with a team of botanists looking after a fantastic garden. The walkway leading to my father's grave has a little bridge overlooking a pond (filled with fish in the spring / summer), and lovely scenery in all directions. From my father's grave you can see through the trees to Parliament Hill. The cemetery is so well-kept that it is now an official tourist site, which is a nice distinction to have I suppose, but I also think those spirits living there just want to be left in peace with the occasional visit from their loved ones.
I take the kids to see my dad's grave at least once a year. This was the first year that Kira had questions for me. "Is your daddy in here?" "Is he in Heaven?" "Why did he get sick?" "What's his name?" It was a bit difficult getting into it all and answering all of her questions, but at the same time I was happy that she was curious enough to ask all these great questions about a man she never met. At one point I felt a lump in my throat but when I looked up and saw my mom watching, I found the strength to smile and keep talking about my papa and how he would have loved to have met Kira.
This was Calvin's 2nd visit to grandpa Mori's grave.
On a lighter note, it was my second time taking Kira to see the Wiggles! I didn't manage to snag many great shots, but here are a couple of the stage, and one of Kira in her seat. Quite a production, but then again this is one of the richest entertaining groups in the world. I really enjoy the Wiggles. They all seem like down-to-earth guys, the tunes are cute and catchy, and these are real people, not folks in character costumes (like, for example, Barney or the Backyardigans).
Another quality visit to my hometown!