Dear Ethan and Maya,
To sum up our summer, may I say how good it feels to finally say goodbye to sunscreen!
Only hearing the word “sunscreen” is almost enough to make me wish for snow. Because applying it to you is like trying to wrangle an angry, writhing snake. Worst part of summer and I really love summer!
“Stand still,” “hold your arms out,” and “chin up,” are impossible actions for you. Most of the time I was like, “Okay kids, come over here so I can torture you in the name of preventing skin cancer.” And then we would go sit in the sun dreading every single second that passed as it meant we’re getting closer to having to reapply sunscreen. And we’d been doing it since May! Such a long torturing summer!
I won’t lie and pretend like I wasn’t ready for school and maybe snow to start again but, kids, we had a great summer!
Although I’ve lived in Vancouver BC for ten years, I have never tried camping. In fact if I didn’t have you both, I would never ever bother to even think about it. I grew up in a city, the only thing that could get me camping would be to bring my own bathroom. So yes, a serious toilet problem! But kids are crazy about camping. How adventurous it sounds to walk half a mile to a toilet at 3am and find out it’s even more fun to pee behind a bush next to it!
So when our friend Ada confirmed us that they were going to fly over with her kids Zach and Katie to stay with us for two weeks in August, we decided to go camping with them. I truly understand that kids grow fast, and we should make sacrifice now and ease life later, but that toilet anxiety of mine, damn it!
Thank god for your aunt Karin and her husband Brian who suggested bringing us along to their friend’s cabin by Glimpse Lake, Merritt. How did they know that I’d rather chew off my own arm than go camping? Except this exact thing wouldn’t be out of ordinary for a planned camping activity. Now we don’t have to worry about it until next summer. Now we have our own toilet!
From time to time last year Brian would show us pictures of the beautiful lake where the cabin is sitting by to assure me that the peace comes with no Internet, no TV and no phone. And they had survived blazing 40 degree temperatures and the world’s most ferocious mosquitoes. It might be hard for us to endure, especially given that this summer had been unseasonably warm. He warned us, “IT IS GOING TO BE HOT!”
AK was too excited to care about the terrifying details after she saw the pictures of the lake. A dream-come-true experience for her family that they might not be able to arrange on their own. So here we go!
Our 4-hour drive took us to this cabin, a beautiful combination of rustic and comfort. Kitchen, bathroom, a dock, few boats, and windows overlooking the most surreal lake scenery that I’d never been so close to. The cabin owners just got every detail right and then some. Tucked under a canopy of lush, thick woods, it really did feel like we were a world away having a storybook vacation in a cabin. I fell in love with this place right away. It didn’t feel like camping at all, and for that I was grateful. My arm and my butt were very grateful.
So we spent a few days there sunbathing, fishing, boating and toad catching. For me, unplugging and lake-watching mostly, because I wasn’t strong enough to brave the ice cold water like you kids did!
Katie was the craziest one. She’d beg to go swimming, completely lose her mind after five seconds in the water and then belligerently demand to be carried out. Seeing as Katie is a water dog, had the lake been warmer she would have submerged herself for hours. And Maya, you had watched Katie and demanded to sit on a floating tube. This didn’t surprise me given your personality, but I thought that once you got out there and experienced the coldness you’d be all OH MY GOD WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO. Except right now I don’t think you will ever in your life say those words. Instead you were just sitting there smiling, giggling and squealing, while I was getting myself prepared to carry you directly to a warm bath.
One of the many firsts for you kids on this trip was fishing on a boat. You guys took turns as passengers while Brian steered the boat. He also showed you how to cast a fishing rod. And Ethan, you almost took out three eyeballs while getting the hang of it. You were a little impatient and wanted to catch a fish immediately. More than appropriate when I was relaxing on the cabin patio, I could hear you and Maya moaning, and the echoes of “UGHHHHHH!!! Where are the fishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh???” bounced back and forth across the lake.
Of all the activities surrounding this visit to a lake, you guys have taken to toad catching the most. Thanks to Zach who was literally spending the whole trip doing nothing but catching toads! He would make a good career being a toad catcher considered his persistence. The first day we arrived there, it was chilly and rainy that it’s impossible for us to do any water activities. I guess the wet weather helped to incubate a large number of toads on the lawn that if you step on it you would easily kill a few of them. So Zach decided to “save” them and the next thing I know is the whole gang followed suit. Each one of you grabbed a bucket from the shed and started collecting them. I’d been refusing to get involved. Like when Ethan, you asked me to come and look at that huge toad you got, I’d be all, “That’s okay, Ethan! Try to get another one big enough for dissection!”
I decided to take that one look at the buckets on the last day of the trip. And HOLY GOD! A few days in and you guys got a truck load of toads ready to be minced and cooked and served with pasta for the whole village! Seriously, if you take a closer look at that pile of amphibians in the bucket, you could see a few of them twirling their peers over their heads!
I was really trying to unplug and relax for a few days, and this place couldn’t possibly provide a more perfect environment for doing so. Families, friends, kids sharing life on life. This trip has given us a lot of wonderful memories. This trip has given you kids a taste of life on the water. I totally understand how anyone who has grown up with that kind of recreation at their doorstep might never want to leave it. And I can’t thank Brian, Karin and AK enough for helping us to create them. I hope it will become our annual trek to this same little nook on Glimpse Lake.
I’ve mentioned how I never like to hear you whine, but when the refrain is, “But I don’t want to leave!” I have to feel gratified that I was able to give you that feeling.