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When I moved from Saskatchewan to British Columbia, I was expecting some things. I was expecting to enjoy the weather and the view. I was expecting to have a few anxious moments along the way, and to miss my friends and my familiar Saskatchewan life. I was expecting some fun/uncomfortable/stretching feelings as we searched out new grocery stores, coffee shops, and churches.

What I hadn’t expected was to begin remembering myself.

I’m remembering myself here, on the shore of the Shuswap Lake and on the bank of the Enderby River and on the deck of the house of the friend who is letting us stay with him. It’s coming back to me in slow waves of warmth and a gentle soul-awakening. I’m waking up, is what it feels like. I’m turning, returning, to the girl who loved the lake and the sun and baggy shirts and cutoff jeans. I can feel her stretching inside me, turning her face up and smiling toward the sky.

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It’s not the place, really, although there is no denying the beauty of British Columbia. It’s the change and everything it took inside to make the change. It’s the bravery of saying goodbye and the courage to say hello. It’s less stuff and better goals. It’s opening up to possibility and the freedom of starting fresh. It’s a longing acted on, and believed prayer, and going when it seems right to go. It’s accepting the hassle and stepping off the curb.

I’m remembering myself in all of this. I’m fifty-two years old, and I’m the youngest I’ve been in a long long time.

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So, we moved.

We packed all the things and we drove west and here we are now, in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada.

When we left the little farm in Saskatchewan, a new family was just beginning to snuggle into the big old farmhouse. Two sweet boys and their parents, and a whole new batch of LEGO and toy trucks and dirty knees. It made me happy to know there would be bugs in jars on the windowsill of the kitchen, once again.

When we drove away from that little farm, I cried. Carter was with me, and my foster daughter, and I was tired from a long week-that-felt-like-a-year. I was on my way out-of-town for the last time and the farm was my last stop, and when I hugged the new farm-mommy it was a hello and a farewell and a I hope you love it here as much as we did, and I thought I was good. But then, as we were leaving, Carter asked me to stop.

I’ve never been brave enough to jump from that tree, he said.

Do you want to? I asked.

Ya, he said.

So I waited in the car and he ran out to the tree from which his brothers and their friends had jumped to often and so carelessly and he climbed it like a squirrel and without hesitating he leaped.

That’s when I cried.

Because of the leaping.

Because it was the perfect ending and the perfect beginning and because it was brave and cool and the absolute best last-thing-to-do-before-leaving-and-beginning-a-new-adventure thing ever.

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I’m packing a box of memories – stuff the kids have made over the years – and I realize all of a sudden, like the calendar just up and slapped me on the back, that in just over a month I will be homeless. It sounds more dramatic than it is, but still my heart quicks its beating for a minute or two as I let that realization and all of its complicated associated feelings travel from my brain to my heart.

And then, just like that, I’m excited. Finally, I’m excited. After being by times fearful and sad and confused and grieving, all mixed in with tentative anticipation, I’m plain old excited.

If you’ve been following along, we are moving. We’re selling the stuff and packing up what’s left and heading west, all the way to British Columbia. For lots of reasons that I’ll probably write about when I have more time, this move has been as much a heart process as a physical one.

A lot of things have changed since we began this new adventure. The original plan, back when we first talked about doing something else for a year, has been completely revised. That’s the nature of adventures, though, isn’t it? They take on a life of their own.

The one thing about that original dream that I want to protect, though, is it’s smallness. The simple, teeny tiny, cozy, delightful essence of what this whole thing was about when we started, in spite of how the details have changed, is still what is most important to me. In four words, this is my dream.

Less stuff. More fun.

More later…

Two weeks, three kids, and a family reunion. Throw in the Crow’s Nest Pass (a lovely drive, if you’re not in a hurry), a missing kid, and losing my shoes in a river, and you have the makings of a fantastic holiday. From Saskatchewan to British Columbia and back. Here is my version of the traditional family vacation slide show. Feel free to nod off.

Most interesting person met on the road:

This woman. We were fuelling up in Lethbridge, Alberta, and she rode in on her bike with this large black dog in the front bike carrier. I stared. Lyndon chatted with her for a few minutes and discovered she had biked from Montreal. Montreal is a long way from Lethbridge. No idea of her destination or if she even had one.

Best hotel:

Hands down, the best hotel we stayed in was the Days Inn in Penticton, B.C. It was serendipitous. Lyndon booked it on points, not knowing anything about it. Turns out it is located right across the street from where people put into the channel with floaties for the seven mile float down to Skaha lake. SO much fun. In fact, the channel float definitely wins in the category of The Most Fun We Didn’t Expect To Have. If you are in Penticton on a hot summer day you definitely have to float the channel. But, back to the Days Inn. Our room opened into the courtyard, in the middle of which was the outdoor pool. We were a half a block from the beach and the skateboard park. We stayed three nights. Perfect.

The biggest fright:

We lost Carter in Penticton for almost an hour. We were at the hotel and he had gone for a swim in the pool to try out his new wet suit. Lyndon was outside and saw him getting out of the pool. A few minutes later, Lyndon came into the room where I was getting ready for the day and asked where Carter was. And the search began. We looked everywhere. Twice. He was nowhere. I phoned the front desk and the hotel staff started searching as well. He was finally found, in the room next door to ours, by one of the cleaning staff. Apparently he had lost his way on the way back to our room from the pool, and had gone into the room next door by accident. The door had been left open while the room was being cleaned and he wasn’t noticed.

Carter was wet from the pool so he stripped off his wet suit and crawled into bed and started watching television. By the time he realized something was awry (perhaps the lack of luggage and family members were his first clues?), he was trapped, naked, in the bed. Thankfully, it is now just a funny story but for awhile I was a frantic momma pleading with God for my baby’s safe return.

The family reunion:

This was a Kemp reunion. Lyndon’s mom’s family. It was held at a beautiful little bible camp near Lumby. Apparently, Lyndon and his brother Darren had attended a camp there when they were teens. As the story goes, they spent a day there before they were “asked to leave”. Something to do with them having a little bit of trouble following the rules. Imagine.

Anyway, the DVM camp was a lovely spot to spend a couple of days. Here are the reigning patriarchs and matriarchs of the Kemp clan. Lyndon’s mom, Marilyn, is in red and next to her are her brother Wayne, sister Viv, and brother Norm.

The most relaxing:

After the reunion, we met up with Lyndon’s Aunt Merry in Vernon and went to Dee Lake for a couple of days. We stayed in a ninety-year-old log cabin and enjoyed some quiet days playing in the water, visiting, and reading. The boys fished a little, kayaked, and snorkeled. My favourite moment was the morning we left. Merry made coffee and she, Lyndon, and I sat down on the beach and watched the sun come up over the trees while a family of loons fished for their breakfasts. Beautiful.

The best field trip:

On our last day in Vernon, we went with Merry to Davison’s Market and Planet Bee. We’ve been to these places before, and they are favourites.

Best “catch-up” visit:

We stopped for a night in Salmon Arm at Lyndon’s cousin Michelle’s house. When our boys were small, we spent about a year living in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan at the same time that Michelle and her husband Dave were living on a pig farm near there. We home-churched with them during that time, and those days remain some of Tyson’s and Colton’s favourite childhood memories. Dave and Michelle had, then, five boys and also homeschooled, which made for some wonderful gatherings. It was great to spend some time with them again.

It was a lovely holiday. Lots of time together, and with friends and family. We did lots, saw lots, laughed lots. And so, for the finale, the final category. Because really, what vacation with boys would be complete without …

The best wedgie:

Don’t feel too sorry for him. He deserved it.