When traditions cease

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's something I look forward to every year:  the "boy free" Labor Day weekend.  Trey and the boys ship off on a three day adventure and I get the house to myself.  I clean from top to bottom, don't cook a thing, spruce up the yard and usually burn out by Sunday morning.  It is glorious.  This year it was not meant to be.

By Wednesday I knew it wasn't looking good for me when no plans had been made.  A few were thrown around but I could tell no one was really into it--namely my husband.  Salmon fishing on the Fraser River was the first consideration but after purchasing one fishing license, we realized that we were lacking in gear, bait, etc.  Plan B: Trey would go up on Friday afternoon and fish since the license would expire in 5 days then come back on Saturday and get the kids to go camping an hour away.  He promised to farm everyone out for Friday night sleepovers so I could have the evening to myself.  Ian was gone by noon and Ben left at 3.  In the meantime, Quinn got invited to Whistler on Saturday morning but wasn't able to sleep over for various reasons.  Just as I was about to doze off, Quinn announced that he now could go over to his friend's--at 10:20 p.m.!

Saturday morning I jumped out of bed, got some coffee and made my plan of attack.  Target, Costco gas, Costco, Kohls, Walgreens, Haggen--in that order.  As I backed in the driveway to unload my goods, I get a text "the boys want to come back over to your house, is that okay?"  By noon my house was full of boys again as we waited for Trey to appear.  Five hours later he showed up, not in the mood to pack up for camping, but with 26 pounds of beautiful salmon in his possession so all was forgiven.  We feasted on his catch with the promise that "I'll pack up the tent trailer and leave tomorrow morning." 

We spent Sunday morning packing up and I stood in the driveway and waved goodbye with a huge smile on my face.  Off they went to do boy things and I grabbed Millie and went out to the lake for some reading on the beach.  Three hours later as I arrived at the 3-way stop near our neighborhood there in front of me was my brood of boys with the tent trailer still attached to the vehicle.  Uh-oh.  Trey yells out the window, "Zach fell and hit his head on a rock and needs stitches."  How could I be so selfish when a sweet little 9 year old is in pain?  I quickly got over my disappointment when I saw this blonde boy crying in the backseat.  Quinn came home a couple hours later from his mountain biking excursion--in one piece-- and our family was reunited.  I just had to laugh.

Monday morning Trey and I got up early and went on a beautiful hike.  (Our summer arrived along with September and we've been in the mid-80s all week)  When we returned he loaded up just his truck with pellet guns, mountain bikes, a cooler and all three boys and off they went.  I didn't even ask when they were coming back.  I didn't need to.  10 minutes later I hear banging in the garage and open the door to find Trey hammering away at Quinn's bike seat.  ??? Apparently his seat fell off while driving down the road and when they realized and turned the car around to retrieve it some obnoxious teenagers decided it would be funny to run over it.  Hilarious.  Not.  I walked over to the car to see three glum faces and some tears.  Everyone was ready to call it quits.  Dad perservered, fixed the seat, jammed it back on the bike and they drove away.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't holding my breath for at least the next two hours.  To channel my nervous energy I got busy scrubbing floors, organizing closets and washing windows.  Millie and I returned to the lake to cool off and when we walked back into the neighborhood there was my contented family. 

So the 3 day weekend morphed into 7 hours but at this point I was happy to take what I could get.  Isn't it hard when traditions change?  I think this was just God's way of showing me that I need to be open to what the future holds and eventually some things I've counted on for years are going to look different as my children grow and change and ultimately leave home.  Case in point: I can't even count on school starting the day after Labor Day as it has for the last 9 years since the teachers went on strike last week. (A contract was reached and they are starting tomorrow. Phew!)

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away......"
~Ecclesiastes 3: 1-6 NIV