It’s not their birthdays that make me see how much the boys are growing it’s the passing of summer and the inevitability of back to school.
The foray into fall leaves me feeling bittersweet. Summer has once again gone by too swiftly, another summer with my children I will never get back. This sunny season is measurable to me, viewing their growing independence as each year passes. Yet, they still want to hang out with me, their mom, and so we do. Family vacations, day trips or just sitting on the front porch eating a popsicle and talking….or not. Last year there was one camp week, this year there was none. The choice is always theirs. The end of summer also means I’m exhausted from trying to balance it all but it’s a satisfied exhaustion that leaves me with a small smile on my lips as I go over the days in my mind.
Each year on the Labour Day weekend, we make the trek to my aunt’s house for a family BBQ. Pat was my mother’s sister, and after my mom died, she was a desperately needed link I cherished. Her writing, the way she spoke, her mannerisms so similar to my mother it gave me a piece of my mom which I selfishly sucked in and tucked away. Then Pat passed away, leaving her family devastated and me mourning not only my aunt but my mother yet again – the link now gone. Being surrounded by my mom’s family reminds me of how much I miss her and how precious life is, sometimes being taken away from you so swiftly you never fully recover.
There is a part of me excited for the routine that will come when the boys are back in school but I will miss the later nights and the lazy mornings, the impromptu outings and the lunches made around noon, not at 7:00 a.m. in a rushed frenzy to get everyone ready and out the door.
While January marks the beginning of the calendar year it is September that marks the passage of time for me in a way that nothing else does.
With only a few weeks until the new year begins, as always, I wonder if I have made the most of it.
I feel his palm warm against my skin, a slight movement of his fingers as his hand finally settles. Tired, I only want to sleep, impatient and silently praying for him to eat quickly so I can go back to bed. The memory is now barely there, the act of his hand grabbing onto my arm as I feed him lost, unappreciated in its simplicity.
It pains me to look back at the moments I let go by without a second glance not understanding how the passing of time is a mirage with seemingly no end in sight.
Seven years have passed since that night and as we walk through the mall looking for back to school clothes he places his hand in mine. I slow my pace, savor the warmth of his skin and concentrate on how he squeezes my fingers each time he speaks. His skin is still baby soft, the size all little boy. Too soon his hand is pulling away to race off with his brother. I want nothing more than to grab on and never let it go, knowing that someday this tiny hand will be larger than mine, the times for me to hold it growing fewer and farther between.
Today there is no illusion, only the warmth left by his hand.
It's sometimes hard finding an activity the whole family can enjoy, especially when there is a big age difference between the kids. While I had never been to Wild Water Kingdom before, my husband used to hang out there as a teenager which meant not only would we have fun as a family, he had the added bonus that he could share all of his "when I was a kid" stories.
We took my two boys and my niece, the ages ranging between: 13 and 7, yet each of them had a fantastic time because there's something for every age at Wild Water Kingdom.
For older kids there are exciting slides like the Midnight Express, Devil's Drop, The Cliff (I almost lost my bathing suit bottoms on that one) and Corkscrew, while younger kids can enjoy the Dolphin Bay Water Playground, the Children's Adventure Playground and The Big Tipper water bucket. Feeling a bit water logged? Play mini-golf or go rock wall climbing.
Kids are unpredictable so it shouldn't have surprised me that my boys were at first a bit resistant to sliding down the slides. Thankfully my niece is very convincing and once she got them down their first slide, there was no stopping any of them. But by far, the best part for the kids was the wave pool. Actually, all of us could have spent the entire day coasting the waves in that pool. However, for me, the Lazy River came a close second. There is something therapeutic about floating around on an inner tube that allows you to release your inner stress and simply relax while the sun beams down on your face. I'm currently looking into having a Lazy River installed around our neighbourhood. Work life would be so much better if I could participate in conference calls while floating on an inner tube.
I can honestly say, aside from our vacation where I was completely unplugged, it was the best time we had all summer. I know this because as we were walking out of the park at the end of the day, my older son turned to me and said "I wish there was a button we could press so we could do this whole day over again."
Me too, little buddy....me too....
Ready To Start The Day
Smiles On The Slide
Two Thumbs Up
You Know It's A Good Day When (he's sleeping for real)
p.s. If your kids aren't too exhausted by the end of the day, Wild Water Kingdom even has a drive-in.
p.p.s. Wild Water Kingdom let us hang at their park for the day for free but, we have gone back again and paid our own way.