Remembrance Day 11/11/11

On November 11th last year I wrote in my journal:

This morning I watched the Remembrance Day ceremonies in beautiful HD with Logan. They took place in downtown Ottawa, and I thought to myself how much I really must try to make it out there next year. Great time to plan such an outing, as it will be 11/11/11 at 11:11 which I’m sure EVERYONE in Ottawa will want to be a part of. But I was captivated by the beauty of raw emotion, and just wished I was down there, camera in hand, soaking it all up through an artistic eye. So remind me to try and make it out there next year. I’ll try to get a good night’s sleep, find somewhere to dump my babies, and spend the morning in downtown Ottawa for Remembrance Day 2011.

Well, guess what. ….I did it!!!!

I should preface this by mentioning that I have spent my whole life held back by Social Anxiety and Agoraphobia. Though I wanted to go out and do things, I had always been held back by my phobias.

Well, since starting my medication this summer and experiencing a major drop in my anxiety levels for the first time EVER, I decided it was time to challenge myself! And the ultimate challenge for me too: driving in downtown Ottawa. On a busy day, no less! Not knowing my exact route due to many road closures for the parades. All of these factors combined would have had old Nina in a catatonic state, paralyzed by fear! But this time I was up for the challenge! The drive there was rather uneventful. All the roads I needed were still open and the parking lot was relatively easy to find, and not at all crowded. I felt quite proud of myself for effortlessly navigating into and back out of our city centre (even though I had the GPS on too, just in case). My mum congratulated me too and said I did great. Suddenly a whole new world of possibilities has opened up for me! :)

On the down side, it was awfully crowded downtown, even though we arrived early – well, as early as one cares to arrive with two babies in tow. ;) By the time the ceremonies were over, Logan was SO ready to go home! It was me, the babies, and nana, and we had to wedge ourselves into the crowd. We had no view of the ceremonies, but were able to listen to the speeches and beautiful music playing, choir singing. It was a cold day too, so being surrounded by so many people at least helped to block the winds! As soon as we left the group, icy winds whipped around us, and so we took just a few photos near the War Memorial before pumping our crazy legs back to the car!!!

I am still happy we went, though. I didn’t get the photos I had been hoping to capture, but it was nice being part of the ceremonies no less, paying our respects and feeling the atmosphere there. All of us in the crowds singing O Canada first, and then later God Save the Queen. The date was meaningful too – 11/11/11 and having a moment of silence at 11. :) No doubt it was also a very significant day for me personally, as it meant overcoming one of my biggest phobias.

The kids were really well behaved too. Jake, oh Jake – this kid slept through the entire thing! Including the 21 gun salute, I kid you not. Logan was fine in his stroller as long as nana was constantly feeding him. ;) During the moment of silence Logan actually kept quiet even with the kid not much older who stood in front of him saying loudly “WHERE’S THE NOISE GONE!??!?!” Smh. ;)

Anyway, here are some of the photos we took!