People always comment on how much energy I have, and I will be quite honest with you, it is definitely a blessing, particularly when raising five children, but it can also be one royal pain in the butt. Like this morning, I woke up at 4:30am, and rather than go back to sleep like I really wanted to, my body kicked into hyper-drive and begged me to get going:
Ooooh! Let's go workout.
There's dishes we could do.
Oh, and don't forget the laundry.
And, ooooh, we could walk the dog. Ahhhh! Think of the crisp, early morning air on our face. It would be lovely.
NOOOO! It is time to sleep.
Pretty please, can we get up?
And after an hour of trying desperately to fall back to sleep, I gave up and started my day. I ran downstairs (yes, I literally ran . . . soooo much energy . . . it is ridiculous), grabbed the laundry basket filled with clothes that needed to be folded and headed back upstairs to watch a french movie I had borrowed from school. I was feeling rather pleased with myself at this point for getting an early start on everything I had to do today. I snuck into Elliot's room to grab his laptop, since my laptop cannot read DVD's and the Blue Ray no longer opens up because it is covered in the sticky remnants of Miss Harriet's snacks. When I finally got Elliot's laptop started, I froze and quickly forgot about the laundry I was folding because there in front of me was Elliot's screensaver, an adorable picture of him and Avery hugging with a breathtaking view of the river I used to wake up to every morning when we lived on the Kingston Peninsula in the background. It made me long to hold those two little boys again and to sit on our hill, staring out over the river. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time!
Anyhoo . . .
I decided to steal this picture and email it to my Iphone, since it was one I did not recognize or remember taking, and when I opened up the picture file on Elliot's computer, not only did I find more pictures of my Big Three posing in front of the river, but I also found pictures from a vacation we took on PEI in August 2008, the summer we moved to the Kingston Peninsula. I was giddy! I felt like a pirate finding his long, lost buried treasure.
So, the funny thing about this vacation is that I remember it being the worst vacation we have ever taken. Seriously! We had just moved out of our house on Downsview Drive on the westside, and we were currently homeless. The home we had bought on the Kingston Peninsula had undergone major renovations that summer and was, surprise!, not finished. We had been staying with my in-laws, which worked out great, but being one week away from going back to work as a teacher at Touchstone Community School, I was stressed out. Mr. Level-Headed, a born problem-solver, came up with the perfect solution:
Let's go on vacation!
Are you out of your mind?
It is exactly what we need. It will be great!
For the record, I did not think this was going to be great. For one thing, we could not afford this vacation . . . . ummm . . . major renovations? And another thing, a last minute trip to the very popular Prince Edward Island would mean lousy accommodations, and that is exactly what we got. All I remember is that the hotel room was on the ground-floor, had not been updated in about gazillion years, and I also lost a pair of earrings and a small, book light in that room. I am pretty sure it was pilfered by the cleaning staff, who were, clearly, too busy rifling through my stuff to actually clean the room. GRRRRRR! I was not impressed. Then to make matters worse, it rained the entire week we were there. PEI is beautiful, and it is the most perfect, summer vacation spot, but there is not much to do there when it is cold and wet. Ugh. Oh, and to top off our fabulous vacation, our contractor kept calling about issues he was having with the paint I picked out for the interior of the house:
Hi, Krista! So, yeah, your house currently looks like a Dole banana.
Don't worry, I will repaint it after I exchange this paint for a softer yellow
One day later:
I picked up the new paint, and the salesman said it is the most popular colour this year. You will love it!
Another day later:
Ummm . . . so yeah, your house is now orange.
You may like it.
NO! Go back and find me a pale yellow.
I remember Mr. Level-Headed telling me we could not afford to change the colour again, and I was like:
Well, then I am not moving in. I just bought a bright red couch and there is no way it can sit in a room with orange walls. So, you can have orange walls or your wife. You decide.
I can be a real treat sometimes
And yes, I did win that one.
Needless, to say, I do not have any fond memories of that trip. All I remember is being a nervous, miserable wreck the entire week. I worried about the upcoming school year that I was not currently preparing for. I worried about the state of my brand new house, and I worried I may never feel the warmth of the sun again. BRRRRRRR! And I think I was pretty much ready to contact a divorce lawyer the minute we returned to the mainland because my dear Mr. Level-Headed was being far too level-headed about this entire trip and was constantly looking on the bright side. Seriously. He is lucky to be alive today.
But here's the thing, after scrolling through these long, lost pictures from our worst vacation ever, I see we did laugh, we played lots of games, and we visited some really fun vacation spots. And even though I was freezing the entire time, there were warm, cuddly kittens to snuggle at Santa's Village, and there was yummy raspberry cordial to drink at Avonlea Village. According to the pictures, it was a great vacation. Yes, we were in a crumby, smelly room (it was a designated smoking room . . . blech!). Yes, the weather was terrible, but the dark, dank room forced us to get out and enjoy the outdoors anyway. Sitting here, ten years away from that moment, with Zoe now living in Toronto on her own and us living half a country away from the breathtakingly beautiful Prince Edward Island, I could kick my thirty-two year old self. How could I allow stress and fear to prevent me from simply soaking up the time I had to share with some of the most important people in my life in one of my most favourite places in the entire world? I will never get that week back no matter how much I wish for it, and I do wish for it, as miserable as that week was. I would give anything to hear the Big Three laugh in their little voices again, or to witness all their antics again. I allowed stress and fear to shape my memories and to overshadow any laughs we may have had or stories I could have treasured and shared for years to come. Thankfully, I now work very hard to treasure each moment I have with my family no matter how difficult it may be or how miserable I may feel. I am painfully aware that moments do not last and that as much as you don't want it to happen, life changes. Kids grow up, they move away, and sometimes, you move away. That's life, and as hard as change can be, the fact that life does change, makes it worth treasuring.
Drum roll please . . . and now the pictures! They are amazing.
And look! We must have had some sunshine.
So, perhaps being hyper and waking up at 4:30am is a blessing. Gosh, I love those little faces!