We’re not big vacationers, but we do pack up a few times a year and venture out.
For the last six days, we’ve been away.
We loaded up most of what we needed, including our three daughters, into our 2012 Ford Explorer, with a few of our essentials traveling to our destination in the boat with my husband’s brother.
After a long day of travelling, our family of five quickly set up camp in a tiny two-bedroom “rustic” cabin … one bedroom for my husband and I and one for our five-year-old. Neither bedroom had room for a playpen, so the baby camped out in the corner of the living room with her “roomie” of the week, our oldest daughter, who is now seven years old.
2018 marks her fourth trip to this lake with her mom and dad, her sisters, her grandma and grandpa, an aunt, an uncle, and her three little cousins. Since our first trip in 2013 with three little girls in tow, we have now expanded by three with one more Hintz baby to come yet this fall. Girl count is currently at five; boy count is just one.
Hours spent on the boat were typical … small children quickly losing interest in the sport of fishing, asking when we would be going back “home.” Three generations catch plenty of fish; many fishing “stories” are shared (and fabricated).
Old traditions of cannonballing off the deck were rekindled with the same zest as always … dads and daughters savouring these special moments together in the frigid waters of a northern Saskatchewan lake. Moms, grandparents, and the newest babies are content to rest on the dock to watch (or record) the spectacle. One little girl is still so timid about the jump, despite oodles of encouragement from her cousins, aunt, uncle, mom, and dad.
Meals are traditional too and oh so familiar … grandma’s first garden potatoes, planted early every year so they will be ready for this trip, garden lettuce, and onions, and of course, freshly caught fish … all prepared with such loving hands. It seems we ALL enjoy these family favourites, even the pickiest of the bunch!
Many walks are shared … children chatter, race, and care for each other in the more precarious walking spots. We stop briefly here and there, taking in the view, enjoying the sunshine, trying out a new seat or an old creaky swing. Sisters bicker, while cousins are cherished and cared for tenderly.
Parents warn and threaten and watch over their children carefully … still. The oldest are allowed to do things they haven’t done before … wading in the water with a new lake friend … lifejacket-less, leaving the “nest” here and there, testing out this newly-granted independence.
Moms (well this one anyway) had time to read and enjoy a book; grandmas cuddle their newest grand babies, singing the same songs she sang to her own kids, and her older grandchildren in more recent years; adults visit and play cards whenever there’s a chance.
New ice cream shops are tested out (and savoured); the boat takes us to the beach and a new swimming hole. Babies cry as they are squeezed into life jackets, and little children are pushed continuously on the swings. Teeter totters are tested out for another year. Many trips are made across the monkey bars, and the play centre becomes a pirate ship again and again. A game of tag erupts with some kids from a neighbouring cabin, and parents are relieved when the neighbour children are called in for supper, knowing now that the bedtime transition for their own kids will be much easier.
Cabins are booked again for the same week next year. Siblings argue on the car ride home, and exhaustion sets in. Emotions become unchecked as we ALL transition back into our “everyday” and rather ordinary life back at home.
Unpacking begins … and the washing machine gears up for load after load after load of laundry. And as the unloading begins, our minds can’t help but look forward to our next adventure just 11 short sleeps away.