I have decided that this is the best weekend of the year. Better than Halloween, better than Christmas, better than my birthday. This is the weekend of:
- School Is Out!
- The Sun Is Coming!
- Unexpected Holiday!
- Endless possibilities abound….!
The first year we lived in Canada, we were horrified at the thought of nearly 10 weeks of summer holiday. How is anyone expected to manage a full time job and afford childcare for that length of time? The following year we booked every child into every camp possible, and they went back to school in September more tired than they had been in June. Now we are seasoned, experienced, and almost Canadian. It helps that our children are old enough to babysit each other, and had been studying karate long enough to inflict discipline on each other without too much real injury. The prospect of watching them spend the hot months chilling, cycling, swimming and doing what kids are supposed to do (“Stop that, put it down, you don’t know where it’s been, NOW look what you did to your new sandals…”), is just bliss.
Recently we shared a picture on Facebook. This is what the start of our summer has been like, but it is still better than Juneuary last year, when we were still wrapped in our polar outfits and snow boots, and at least we are not underwater like parts of Alberta.
This year the rain has meant that everything I planted in the garden, and many things I did not plant (we have an Accidental Pumpkin patch in the area where I spread my home made compost. I forgot I had put all 7 Halloween pumpkins with their seeds in the compost last November), are growing, and the time of sitting and appreciating the growth, with a little light harvesting, weeding and reseeding, has arrived. July and August are generally scorching, and the amount of ground water means I may not have to water the lawn or beds for some time.
The Unexpected Holiday is Canada Day. You don’t realize until you move from the UK how your body has become attuned to the seasons with their high days and Bank Holidays. I feel a little wrench at the beginning of May when I realize that it’s Spring Bank Holiday, but I am at work. But that is completely overwhelmed, when you have been dragging yourself and your children to the end of the school year (“Just 3 more days… just one more teacher gift… just one more awards ceremony… I really don’t care where your planner or lunch box have gone, you only have 2 more days at school…”), when you realize that it’s Canada Day Weekend! Break out the wine and the barbeque!
And now the endless possibilities… tomorrow I am going to load my grumbling husband and happy dog into the car and drive away. I will leave a note for the children, which will say “Your parents have run away. You must solve the clues and find them or your college funds are in jeopardy.” There will be clues to lead them to the Skytrain, along the waterfront, into Stanley Park and round the seawall. A real adventure to start the holiday, with a picnic and ice cream at the end. Later in the holiday we will go berry picking, camping, climb the Stawamish Chief, explore Simon Fraser University campus, shop for new school supplies and clothes and backpacks, paint the shed, create a mural of salmon on the wall of the house that faces the salmon creek – or do none of the above. The kids will play in the street with other kids, and we’ll dish out freezies, After Bite and bandaids in equal quantities. Before we know it, we will be back in school and greeting our old friends, and loving the run up to Halloween and Christmas!