You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Even the most meticulous planning can eventually make a mockery of you. Add an attempt at a little impromptu sightseeing and a bundle of tired kids? It will quickly go off the rails.
The other day I was driving with my three daughters, who were strapped in the cab of my father-in-law’s truck. We had 30 minutes to kill before supper, so I decided to drive down the local coastal highway to an impressive tourist look-off. The drive spans a sprawling ocean horizon. I watched in the rear view as my daughters’ tired eyes widened with amazement as they processed the view.
My husband and I are terrible at remembering to take photos, so I decided with great determination that I would snap a vacation selfie of our smiling faces when we arrived at this look-off. With the ocean in the background, it would be beautiful. Breathtaking. I could already count the Instagram likes.
When we arrived, however, things started to fall apart. Before we even unbuckled, my girls broke down. We’ve had long days with little rest, so I should have known that just one or two more bumps in the road would lead us straight to meltdown town. There were tears, skinned knees and a very uncomfortable experience in a port-a-potty before we even left the parking lot. We (myself included) were a total, complete and utter mess.
I knew I had to fix things, but I also knew I needed a minute or two to compose myself before putting the pieces of our scenic excursion back together. We sat slumped in silence on a picnic table with our backs towards the Atlantic. It was hardly picture-worthy.
But despite the occasional breakdowns, itchy bug bites and bouts of bad weather, our time in Nova Scotia was absolutely amazing. (I could do without the humidity, however, especially since my four-year-old asked me why my hair, which I had just spent 30 minutes drying, looked like worms.)
We may be exhausted, but we’re totally uplifted by all the love and delight showered upon us in our beautiful home province. It’s the last week of our vacation and we’re now in Prince Edward Island, a place with just as much magic, a little less rain in the forecast and, as always with our family of five, a lot of love.
I didn’t get a picture of our smiling faces (we did eventually smile) at the look-off that day, or many other vacation photos for that matter. But we did create many, many memories that will last us forever. Or at least until our trip ‘home’ again next summer. Or this Christmas. Or a really good seat sale around Thanksgiving. (Does WestJet accept unused go-kart tickets?)