Have you ever heard the saying that goes something like this, “The older one gets, the faster time flies?” Well it is true! It seems like just a short time ago my wife and I were bringing newborns home from the hospital. Now they are young adults, and older adolescents. They are either working full time, or soon finishing university, or soon to be finishing high school….all depending on which child.
The front door of our house has become more like a revolving front door from 6 adult and nearly adult different schedules. Jobs, part time jobs, time with friends, and sports and crafting activities has left our family constantly coming and going. How am I ever going to organize a family vacation out of this beehive of activity? So I asked each family member to write down what days can they free up, and what would they like to do.
It ended up that the only time that we could all be together as a family during this summer was this past week, for 3 days and 2 nights. The destination chosen was my cousin’s property that she and her husband affectionately called “Cedar Trails”, which was a private and secluded 100 acre paradise, situated on a lightly travelled dirt road in the Grey Highlands. Once you entered this beautiful retreat, and locked the gate behind you on the treed pathway in, no one would ever know you were there.
Growing up as a family, it had become very much a family tradition, but for one reason or another over the past 5 years, the tradition failed to continue. So I was pleasantly surprised when the family chose this very quiet, laid back family time over an agenda packed treadmill of a vacation that leaves one more exhausted than when we started.
I really feel for children growing up nowadays, they do not have it easy. When I was growing up, once one finished high school, that person could very easily land a reasonably paying job. For me I wrote my 1st resume at 40, and had my 1st job interview at the same time. Then just a few years ago a high school diploma was not good enough, BUT a person could really go places with a college diploma. But after graduating college with honours 3 years ago, I was saddened and disillusioned to find that any opportunities in the field I studied required a university degree. The bar keeps getting higher and higher. In this ultra competitive dog-eat-dog world, I worry for my kids. Are they going to make it?
So for 3 short days and 2 nights, we freed ourselves from phones, computers, alarm clocks and agendas. There was no demands to be met, no routines, no appearances to keep up, no disciplines to adhere to. The only priorities were immediately in front of us. If we felt like swimming, we’d jump in the pond. If we felt like hiking, we’d go for a hike. If we felt like reading, we’d read. If we felt like taking a nap, we’d take a nap.
We teased each other, laughed together, ate together, roasted marshmallows together, played together and reconnected. For 3 short days and 2 nights, the tensions of the world melted away.
At night, as we settled into our tents and camping hammocks, we were lulled to sleep by sounds of nocturnal creatures such as the bullfrog and katydid. On the second night, under a moonlit sky, I was jarred awake by the eerie and distinctive sound of a lone wolf howling in the distance. I immediately looked over to where all the family were sleeping. There was not a stir among any of them. As quickly as I was wide awake, I was fast asleep again.
My children’s future, like anybody’s is uncertain. Yet the strength they have shown, as they find their place in the world has been nothing short of amazing. Strength I fail to figure in my own anxieties. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT! 🙂