within arms reach
Every year, I fall for Autumn. That time of year when the bugs disappear but it's still warm enough to go outside without bundling up...that is the sweet spot of our Canadian weather calendar, in my opinion. I adore the brilliantly starry skies that appear in the crisp evening air, the changing colours and the buzz of activity in the golden fields. It's my most favourite season of all.
Yet there's a measure of sadness as sweet, sweet summer starts to slip away. It seems to mark the turning of another page and time feels very tangible to me in those moments. I reminisce about the hours I spent with loves ones, in particular my own kids. Always the question pops up...did I make the most of the precious days I had with them this summer?
I'm self-employed. There are no paid vacation days. Every day I take off work is one day less on my paycheque. As the only bread winner in the household, it's a consideration when making summer plans. So I rarely take a long bunch of days off in a row. I typically will try to plan my memory-making moments within the confines of several long weekends throughout the season.
This year, the stars aligned and I was able to take all three of my children on a summer getaway. It was a summer sprint, really...but we made the most of it. My oldest is employed and works many long hours so I was very grateful he was able to take some time off and join us. It's a juggling act getting everyone on the same page but apparently, we can juggle.
And so it is that we embarked on a journey together. My take-charge oldest child with the camera stretched out in front of him; my youngest smiling obediently; my middle child jokingly promising to scowl in every picture; and me with my eyes squarely on the road. We had the recipe for what I consider to be a wonderful family road trip. Some adventure, some relaxation, some laughter and some great food. An evening in Maple Creek to scout out the town and a couple of days at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
We played on the beach, we cruised in the go-karts, we zip-lined through the lodgepole canopy and we dined on delicious red meat and accompanying red wines. (The wine part was maybe just me).
At the end of it all I was entirely grateful for the time we'd been able to spend together. We made another memory to add to the files. These young people I've had a hand in raising have turned out just beautifully and it made my heart happy and full. They enjoy life, they enjoy each other and they even enjoy spending time with me. What a blessing. :-)
As we were walking to the car to drive away from our weekend destination, I suggested that we needed to take one last picture on a lovely wooden bridge I had spotted. There was a bit of muttering and perhaps some eye rolling at my request, but they obliged.
When we all got home that evening, I scrolled through my pictures from the weekend's events and realized I had completely missed capturing shots of the things we'd done. There were no go-karts, there was no high angle shot of the tree lined canopy, there was no lovely wooden bridge. There was only these four faces. Every picture was taken at arm's length and it shows only what I can reach to the end of my fingertips.
But you know what? It's actually perfect. Really folks, the important stuff is there anyhow. Everything else is just the blurry edges of the photo; the icing on a pretty amazing cake. The things and the people I need, and what truly matters in my world can be seen from every angle. Right there, within arms reach.