Every summer since our first child was born, we make a trip to Ontario to see our families. Both my husband, Dan, and I are both from there and it was important to us to have our children develop relationships with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We collect Aeroplan points, shop at stores to rack up our Airmiles and do all we can to make the trip possible. We have made sacrifices over the years to make the trip an annual event. All of our vacation money, new furniture money, and new vehicle money goes into that trip. I have to say, though, it has not felt like a sacrifice and it has been totally worthwhile. Our children have meaningful relationships with their extended family. The bonus of this trip is the family togetherness.
My children are now young adults, 16, 18 and almost 20. With busy schedules and summer jobs, as well as the end of August being preparation for returning to university, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to take a vacation as a family. As a matter of fact, this is the first year in which my oldest son, Maxx, will not be able to join us. Although four out of five of us are going on the annual Ontario trip, we wanted to take some kind of vacation, even if it was just a short camping trip so we could all be together. We tried to co-ordinate a trip to Vancouver; perhaps biking the seawall, hiking the Grouse grind and renting a boat for a day. This never happened. With Carlee and Jonah working as lifeguards at the pool, and Maxx’s position as a summer student forester with West Fraser Mill, we could not get 5 days in a row where everyone could leave work.
We came up with a brilliant solution! We decided to camp at Moberly Lake which was about a half an hour drive from everyone’s workplace. It was great! I am the only one who stayed all day, the entire 5 days to be there when people came and went (me, the one who doesn’t really like camping in the first place :)). Dan had his motorcycle, Carlee used our vehicle and Maxx had his own car, so everyone could come and go to where they needed to be. By the evening we were all together, ate dinner, played games, went for walks and just enjoyed each other’s company.
There is something about being away from home, where there are no distractions so you can just focus on being together in beautiful surroundings. It’s healing, bonding and necessary (at least for us). For as long as we possibly can, we will fight for this family time. Perhaps someday it will include spouses and grandchildren?