Midway through my teens my parents parted ways and I was left wanting a strong sense of family.
I spent some time with my high school friend, Zak’s family, which was a good bandaid for the time being but when he left for University that desire grew and I was left wanting.
I made friends with a guy named Ian in grade 11. He was into computers and technology and we shared a common interest in car audio. I honestly did not think this would be a lasting relationship since the difference between us were kind of big.
He was an ambitious intellectual and I was an ambitious long haired skid who loved movies.
I remember meeting Ian’s parents for the first time one afternoon. I’m sure they were a little concerned about the boy their son had befriended. I was rough around the edges and potty mouthed.
It seemed like many of my friends parents would not want me around unless they were there in fear of me stealing something. I would not blame Ian’s parents for having the same concern.
To my surprise I found myself over at Ian’s place almost every lunch time. He lived close to the school so it was an easy noontime destination.
The more time I spent with him the more I realized we were not too different.
We both had an entrepreneur spirit. In fact, we were in a class together of the same name, although the end of the year project did not have us as partners, in which you were to make a business model.This will prove ironic in a moment.
We went off to college separately and met up from time to time. I recall going to his dorm after a bad break up with my first serious girlfriend.
When we both returned home after higher education our friendship continued. I was getting cosier with his family and often found myself invited to thanksgiving and christmas dinners.
Ian had to younger brothers and I quickly became known as the 4th son.
His parents Linda and Brent were the staple in my life for a secure marriage and a functioning family. They did not know this at the time but their stability help cement the thought that marriage can work in my heart and mind.
I very much enjoyed this family dynamic when my own had fallen apart. Ian’s cousins would also join in the festivities and this is how I met John, Jason and their parents Susan & John Sr. Fraser.
Although I did not get to know the Frasers that well, John and I would develop a lasting friendship due to our common interests of Formula One, motorcycles, firearms and golf.
In fact, throughout my 20’s and into my 30’s there was no one else I shared more hobbies with than Johnny. He got busier in recent years and moved to Toronto. I would see him less but I still cherished his friendship and will miss him.
Ian and I would only grow closer as the years went by.
We travelled to New York and China together, as well as all around Asia for a couple of years in a row.
When I returned to Canada after a year in Poland studying filmmaking, he picked me up from the airport and told me about a business idea he had.
I must mention that Ian was one of my biggest supporters when I was in Poland. He bought me a radio when mine broke, he made a video of all the people in town I may be missing being away and was there ready to pick me up when I landed.
This business idea Ian had, it was to make specific BMW parts.
I assisted him in it as I looked for work but as it expanded I became a partner.
We employed his brother Aaron at some point we had created another new friendship within the Farr family.
Aaron was young and very bright, but his strengths needed a voice and a direction.
It was quite a journey to see this growth from just this kid that worked for us to a truly great friend.
We would often go skating after work and then get quarter pounders to fill the hunger gap. I think that nullified the calories we burned on the ice but it was fun, nonetheless.
Aaron returned to University but when he came home we would camp together and build mini-put courses on the camp sites we stayed on. We would argue about matters of faith and science, but no matter how heated it got, there was love and respect.
One day Aaron got a great job opportunity in Ottawa and he was gone. He got married there, had a child but unfortunately got separated from his wife just recently.
This situation made it difficult to see him but I always longed to relive those days I shared with him in the past. I already missed him before I ever started this journey I’m on now.
I miss him now even more. We got to spend some time recently as we passed through Ottawa and I hope for more times like that in the future.
Ian and I had also parted ways some years back. We had different visions for our futures and that did not gel well together unfortunately and he wanted to go at it alone with our now growing business. That is what ended up happening despite my protest but I think it was for the best.
We didn’t talk much until years later. We struck up a conversation about me coming back to the business as a contractor, and that is where i stayed for three years before leaving for this journey.
Despite being back working together with my friend, our relationship had this overshadowing stress over it. Its not easy working for someone and being their friend. It made me question my worth many times. Often I felt like quitting in order to pursue a better friendship with him.
We were different from each other by this time, we were drifting apart.
I did not go to the family Christmases anymore, as it was getting crowded, but more than that, it was no longer as simple as when you’re a teenage kid.
There are times when I felt that perhaps we can never have the relationship we once had, and other times when I am more hopeful. Ian is always quick to help when you need a car for a few days or a place to store your motorcycle. Even as I write this Ian has offered his home in Florida up to our convenience. It’s something wonderful for him to do and completely unexpected. It will give us much needed relief during the Christmas season and we are very grateful for it. Its these acts of kindness that make me feel important to Ian even though we’ve been through a lot. I just hope he knows he is still very important to me.
The Farr family has, in no small way, been massively impactful on my life and the life of my own family. Only in writing this do I see that more than ever.
I will miss the overseas trips with Ian and the success we shared in our business in the early years.
I will miss the camp fires and long talks with Aaron and his sharp wit and tender heart towards those in his life.
I will miss Linda and Brent’s love and support as I got married and started a family of my own.
They are the parents that I hoped to have in my late teens and up to now. Parents that stayed together and were their own best friends. Parents that influenced my desired to have a family that stayed as one. They became the archetypal couple for Cynthia and I and we will miss them dearly.