The Trip – Part 1
The packing. I’m awful at packing. You’d think after many years of trips to Canada yearly to visit family I’d be a pro – but no. I can make great lists of things to bring so I don’t forget things. My husband in the early years used to get fairly frustrated with me and the large piles of things I’d take back in our “small” vehicle. So – he became the packing pro. I’d set the piles in the living room then go sit and read or clean or do something so as not to hear his grunts of frustration as he made magic fitting everything into the vehicle. We wouldn’t have a lot of room sometimes and often couldn’t’ recline a seat or two. Having three children now – one in diapers no less, hasn’t minimized my piles to take along. This is a photo of maybe half of it. Magic maker got it all in the van and we don’t even have a topper for the roof rack! We are back on the active list for fostering and I quietly asked on the way…so we’d be pretty crowed with one more kiddo. No joke – but I know magic man would get it all in – he always does. OK – I had to leave the stroller behind! Figured – below weather wouldn’t need it anyway and I can use a cart at the mall!
The Trip – Part 2
Snacks. A good and generous friend brought me chocolate. She made me cry – as we hugged goodbye. She knows the chocolate if my fave and she also knows the importance of this trip that wasn’t planned for this year – but became important with the late summer diagnosis of brain cancer for my bro Jim….. the need to touch base with loved ones. So we hit the road with a Dew and M&M’s. Who needs anything else?
The Trip – Part 3
Van travel pics. God is keeping us safe as we travel. Thank you Lord! Naps, reading, some homework for Anthony, DS (of course!), magazines and napping – traveling two days to Canada is like a small spa retreat…oh except when Soph has had enough of her car seat and is screaming at the top of her lungs and throwing her toys and books on the door side I can’t reach!
The Trip – Part 4
Border crossing. Passports in hand and Soph’s Judge approval travel papers get us into the country without problems. Typical questions: What are you bringing that you are leaving and the value? Any citrus fruits like apples or oranges? Any tobacco, alcohol or firearms? Any personal weapons? (Mace - it is illegal to carry in Canada). Where are you going and the purpose of your trip? How long are you staying? Have a nice stay.
The Trip – Part 5
The arrival. Anxious excited grandparents/parents greet us. They always back out their vehicle so we can unload in the comfort of their garage. See how the kids have grown? Hugs and kisses of welcome. Feels so good to know we’ve made it safe and sound. Feels so good to not be sitting on our butts! FYI: In Canada butt isn’t a bad word like in the US where I have to teach my kids “bottom” so as not to offend the sitter and the school folks…. cultural adjustment I resent besides not using a “u” in colour and favourite…I know, when in Rome make like the Romans! I’ve lost my focus….oh yah, we made it. Dang it is cold here. We had more snow on the ground in South Dakota than here - the boys are disappointed but maybe it will snow this week….then I’ll have my fix so I can return to KS and prepare for Christmas knowing my soul was restored with a snow fall from my homeland…..I’ll pray for about 2 feet. God are you listening?
The Trip – Part 6
The week. Flies by…. swoosh. Memories full, highs, low. Laughter, hugs, tears, pain in seeing what cancer can do, sorrow in a future so unknown, joy in watching winter birds at the feeder, joy in time together. Joy in today. Joy in mittens and snow pants. Joy in a warm fireplace on a cold day. Joy in Mom’s good cooking and a pot of tea – always tastes better in Mom’s kitchen. Sorrow in parting. Steve won’t let me start to drive when we leave because he knows if I don’t cry in the hugs good bye – I’ll bawl before we make the quarter mile down the road to the stop sign. I’m usually composed by the time we hit the border, but this time I cried for the hurt in life that I can't fix, I cried for the distance between us and the time that will pass until we can hug again. I remember our first trips as newlyweds – I don’t think Steve knew what to do for his weepy bride – now he just knows it is apart of the process.
The Trip – Part 7
The road home – Kansas bound. Going home is harder the traveling up. The eagerness to get there and time to chill in the vehicle is a joy. But on the way home – we suddenly want to click our heels and say “there is no place like home” and be there. So…. it is harder. Day 2 is a killer and the kids are at each other and we could strangle them too – so it just isn’t as fun. All of it comes rushing at us – what lies ahead and what we left behind. Makes for a testy drive in the last few hours. Pick up the mail that was held and what a joy to see our home! Again, Thank you Lord for watching over us and keeping us safe. Reminds me of the benedictions said at the end of church. “Now may the Lord keep you and watch over you may his face shine upon you. May the Lord Bless you and be with you now and forever? Amen” And I sigh....