Cottage Country Living with Dani

tents by water

Today as I was packing for our family vacation I thought about all the family vacations that my parents had taken us on. Every summer, they’d dig out the tents, sleeping bags and camping gear from the garage. Coolers, suitcases and first aid kits were carefully packed and repacked, to ensure that we children stayed content and healthy on our summer journey. Our old aluminum boat would be stuffed full of fishing rods, tackle boxes and life jackets then tightly tarped to ensure that everything stayed put as we drove across miles and miles of highways across Canada. With the chaos of having three children and a dog running around while they packed, my parents diligently would have everything ready to go and we eventually would hit the road.

Fast forward thirty years and here I am looking for my son’s goggles as I grab Band-Aids and locate swim trunks and sunscreen. As I carefully count out the number of t-shirts and shorts needed and make sure that hats and rain coats are also in the bag, I now thoroughly appreciate all the time, effort, planning and organization that went into making summer break so exciting and magical for my brothers and I.

As a child, I only remember getting to our campsite and chasing fireflies and skipping rocks off the dock. I remember exploring the forests that would surround our campsite and reappear an hour later to find the tents set and the gear unpacked. I remember snuggling in our sleeping bags with the sounds of the night forest surrounding us as my parents would continue to set up a camp kitchen and wash dishes in the warm light of the lantern. Now as I gather the final items, my children will never know that I stayed up until midnight trying to finish off emails and last-minute work items so that I could give them my undivided attention while we’re away. They don’t know that when they were nestled in their beds, their father gathered the camping chairs and the life jackets and the suitcases and repacked the car twice to make sure that everything fit in and that nothing was missed. They’ll only have their happy memories of swimming to the raft and jumping off the dock. And, when we snuggle under star filled skies, I won’t think once about the packing or the planning, I’ll be thinking about the smile the kids will have when they see the bag of marshmallows that I almost forgot but tossed quickly into the car so that their toothy grins will delight in a feast of s’mores around the campfire.

By Danielle McNelly, Nortech for Windows, Doors & Sunrooms

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