A feeling of dread poked me awake before the alarm went off.
What if… what if… what if…
A dozen or so really, really, disastrous scenarios hung around my head, pierced my heart and then I pushed those feelings away. I needed to think, not feel and I needed to enjoy this coming holiday, not worry.
I could worry all day, every day for the next six months. Worrying doesn’t do anything. Fools worry. You can spend too much time on it, too much energy and before you know it, it’s time to go back to bed again and you have had nothing to show for it. It doesn’t do one jot of anything, except to get you even more stressed out than before.
I contemplated the travelling adventure before me to a town near Banff, a place called Invermere, somewhere that is highlighted in red under Microsoft Word because it doesn’t recognise it but then neither did I or my brother-in-law. Mrs. C found it on the website Airbnb, booked the place through ourselves and our friends and after that the journey greenlit, we ended up dragging all three of our kids into the Silver Egg Express (our rather tired ’05 Dodge Grand Caravan), called havoc and let loose the dogs of war, or something.
Travelling with very young children can be a frustrating chore and in our case the preschool angst is deflected with snacks, cajoling, begging, yelling, threats and lots of overdue pee breaks. And when they had their pee break, not to go walking into the middle of the ditch and point out all the crap that’s there. A year on from our last vacation, they now possessed about one more month’s worth of wisdom (at best), but they were a lot better and so not that much shouting happened and junk food was kept to a minimum, which meant more for myself and Mrs. C.
I’m okay with that.
I remember last year when we were going to travel for a dozen hours to go to Mumsie-in-Law’s place and I was secretly dreading it because to me, there would be no time for rest and therefore it wouldn’t be much of a vacation. When kids are smaller, you’re more concerned for their welfare in a different house and a different place. Steep stone steps are more of an adventure, tumbles can happen and new bumps and bruises can be had. It raises the stress levels and the kids have new scars to show because of one slightly unsure foot too far. You don’t feel rested after a week’s worth of driving and sightseeing.
I’m getting plenty of time for rest now. The best time to have a holiday is to also have it with friends, especially friends that have a couple of children themselves (Matthew and Amber Price, the quite wonderful people at thepricepost.com). The holiday home had a basement, so the kids could all make noise downstairs while we contemplated the next round of Dutch Blitz. We gave the kids food and water every now and again plus a dip in the hot tub.
I won’t bore you too much with the sheer beauty that is Lake Louise, or the trips we took when we chased a waterfall, with everyone else acting as if they’re mountain goats and me, the British townie who’s perfectly fine only when there’re paved pathways and also thinks that ‘camping out’ means staying in a cheap hotel somewhere. The British invented civilization, of course. It was definitely a hard push towards castles and wars with the French and not playing around in the wilderness with bears and boars and the occasional T-Rex.
Nevertheless, the little hike we had and a slice of Matt’s wisdom stayed with me after our holiday. The trail can represent the twists and the turns of our lives now. We’re not sure entirely where it leads, but it’s a path that’s been travelled before and will be again. Choosing to travel it means choosing everything that comes with it.
God’s got our backs, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride.