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Long-Beach-2014-entry

Vancouver Echoes

By Tricia Barker

I love Vancouver. It’s my home.

I look around and see all the iconic images. Each place holds a special memory and each of those memories also has the power to rip my heart apart.

Twelve years’ worth of visiting Vancouver’s best places with my god-children meant a never ending cavalcade of “adventure days.” The triplet’s loved Vancouver as much as I do. My rule was each child got their own day, this meant I visited each place at least three times.

I only loved Vancouver more.

Now everything has changed, the children have left my life. All that remains is their echo.

And everywhere I look there’s a cruel and beautiful reminder of when the triplets were a part of my life.

But I still love Vancouver.

A bus drives by and the side is filled with an ad for the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Tears well up at the memory. The triplets loved to spend hours there. The first year holding my hand tight. Later the boldness of going across the span alone.

A drive over the Lions Gate Bridge reminds me of these adventures. Taking each one out for ice cream at Prospect Point and looking at the bridge from afar. Before walking to the mid-span, I hoisted Ian and Jake up onto the massive concrete Lion statues for pictures. Ricky said she was too afraid so opted to just stand beside the Lions and smile. Now I can’t cross the bridge without imaging how huge the Lions must have seemed when the kids were small. The tripets’ loved this place.

I love Vancouver.

The PNE, Playland, and Hastings Racecourse. This time of year, as the venues open for the season, I’m haunted and swear I can hear the carny music and smell the candy floss. The yearly trips made to the fairgrounds reflected how much the kids were growing. Ian was the first to ride the Wooden Roller Coaster and had the thrill of watching a calf being born. Ricky spent hours shopping in the Showmart Building and would not miss the pig races. Jake, for him it was the Super Dogs and watching the thoroughbreds run.

I loved Vancouver even more for the endless joy it brought the triplets.

Every week there was some new adventure to explore. Vancouver never let us down.

The Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is in Richmond but close enough to still call home. Taking the children there was allowing them to experience another world. All three enjoyed the visits and were amazed at the 1,000 Buddhas that line the walls in the temple. The kids were coxed in by the kindness of the lamas and monks. It was Ian that chose to visit more often and came with me to the ceremonies. Vancouver showed these young people what another world looked like. I wonder if they remember the silence in the massive shrine room. These days, the lack of noise only accentuates my life without the children’s voices.

And yet I can still thank Vancouver from the bottom of my heart.

More memories, more bittersweet reminders. Each day I travel the streets of Vancouver and at each turn there is another gift this city allowed me to give the kids.

The Art Gallery, The Sun Run, those crazy laughing statues at English Bay. The wilds of Pacific Spirit Park, the observation deck at Harbour Centre. Sitting at the end of the runway watching planes land and waving to the pilots. Or a visit to the Aquarium to see if we are special enough to see the sloth move. Kids Market on Granville Island. Or the joy of the False Creek Ferry ride across to the other shore. The excitement of the Canada Line. The thrill of the 2010 Opening Ceremony rehearsals. Too many to list them all.

I love Vancouver… it will always be never-ending.

And it is heart-breaking.

Our best trip was always to the Stanley Park Christmas Train. Every year, never missed, starting from when they were babies. It’s the only place I can’t go now. That would be the resurrection of a memory my heart could not withstand.

Life is always changing. Vancouver is always changing. My world is always changing. My love for those kids will always remain. Just because something ends or is different doesn’t mean what was never existed. It might just mean that now we only get to hold it in our heart.

Isn’t that the same with most of our lives? Do you miss something or someone? Does someplace in Vancouver remind you of a time long ago when things were different? Does it make you cry?

Vancouver gave me the gift of hours and hours of smiles and laughter with the three people I love most in the world.

I only hope they look around this city and have the same happy memories.

I love Vancouver

 

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