Yesterday was Canada Day! For those reading this from other countries, Canada Day is not like the US Independence Day. It’s a day that celebrates the unifying of three parts into one. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_Day
Canada Day is a national holiday filled with celebrations big and small. Some families just relax, have a bit of a bbq, drink a few beers. Others participate in larger celebrations put on by their town or city. Where I live there’s a fun fest held by the lake with food vendors, bouncy castles, and concerts.
For the last 4 years or so I’ve taken my kids. My son dropped out a little while back, being well past the fun fest stage. In fact, there is very little that can compete with his video games, and Skype-ing on the laptop. So off we went, my daughters and I. Being tweens, they are just on the edge of “I don’t mind being seen by my friends waiting to bounce, since they are also waiting in line to bounce”. We waited in line twice, about 15 minutes per line. They ran through the bouncy maze, and climbed the bouncy rocks in under 10 seconds. I’ve got a feeling this is the last year for bouncy anything.
Waiting in line is thirsty work, so we went in search of liquid refreshment. After that the face painting and Henna booths. Both had more long lines, and we lost patience, especially since the one thing they really wanted to do was head down to the lake.
When my husband and I chose to move out here to the ‘burbs 8 years ago, we didn’t take the lake into consideration. In fact, we didn’t realize how close it was until we’d settled in and went exploring. Lake Ontario is about 10 minutes drive from our house. In our town, by the lake, there are vast green fields to picnic, play and relax in. Playgrounds with splash parks. There is also a walking/biking trail along the lake that is being extended east and west, to connect with other towns and cities by the lake; the goal is to be able to go from parts east of us, all the way to the Harbourfront area in downtown Toronto. Awesome!
So off we went to the lake, right down to the beach. And that’s where the real fun began! As a child I was shy, quiet and reserved; as a pre-teen, even more so. I felt pudgy, awkward, unliked. My two girls are the complete opposite: they are confident, adventurous, sporty, carefree. I envy them, I admire them, and I live vicariously through them.
As soon as they saw the water they came alive. We don’t get down there very often~~ain’t that the way? When something is close at hand, the tendency is to take it for granted. But when we do go, it’s a wonderful thing. They climbed low hanging trees. They walked along beached logs. We searched for rocks and lake glass.
They flitted here and there, like birds set free from a cage. As one went that way, the call would come back to me, “Mamma, come see!” As the other one went up a hill, the call would come back to me, “Oh cool! Mamma, check this out!”
The day had been overcast with the threat of rain, and we almost didn’t leave the house. But they really wanted to go, and anticipating cooler breezes by the water, we had dressed “long”: track pants and t-shirts with hoodies. Well, it was so warm on the shore, we ditched the hoodies double time! I was wearing flip-flops, so I took them off, rolled up my pants and dipped the tootsies. The girls were in running shoes, and I was constantly telling them to be careful not to get their shoes wet. After a while, it just seemed cruel to keep shouting warning after warning. The day had done a 180~~grey skies and cool breeze had become sunshine and warm air. I told them to kick off their shoes and socks and wade in with me.
Well, that was it! They didn’t want to leave after that, even with the promise of bbq chicken waiting at home! I sat on a rock, basking in the sun, while my beautiful babies explored the world of nature. The varied colours of the rocks; the tiny shells along the beach, wondering how far they had traveled to get here; the bright yellow butterfly resting on a leaf; the ducks bobbing along in the marshy bay.
I took a lot of pictures, of them, of myself (Canada Day selfie!!), of the world around us. The water is my happy place, even happier when I was sharing it with my daughters; I tend to forget that because I hardly go there. And in spite of my hunger, and the promise of bbq back home, I didn’t want to leave either.