Friday, 9 August 2013

Cottage Bound

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We're in complete cottage-mode this week. My parents have rented a cottage for all of us and we're furiously packing, grocery shopping, packing...packing and more packing. Why do people who are so little need so much stuff?? Our entire van will pretty much be full of kid stuff, while a little duffle bag each will be allotted to Terry and I. But I love it--I love the stuff. Because it's cottage stuff, and as I pack away the hundredth pair of little shorts, t-shirts, blankets, sleep-time lovies, bathing suits and sunscreen I picture what each day ahead might look like.

Peeling your eyes open early in the morning to the sounds of babies crying and toddlers getting out of bed doesn't feel so bad,'re at the cottage. Everything is better when you're at the cottage. Bacon is on the stove. People who are still in their jammies start sauntering into the kitchen and the cool morning air just feels so so good as you step out onto the deck. Early mornings at the cottage are beautiful. I love walking down to the dock in the morning to watch the still of the water and hearing nothing but the sounds of birds around you.

These memories are, though, from before we had kids. So add in a few squealing kids and panicked moments of each of them falling into the water and I swear, it'll still be beautiful. Maybe not as calm. Maybe not as quiet (okay, definitely not as quiet). But still wonderful.

We've never had our own family cottage, but we've rented them throughout the years and been lucky enough to visit friends at their cottages. But somehow this time it feels different. All of a sudden I'm not excited for myself. I'm excited for my kids.

Mya has only been to a cottage once before when she was a baby, so she really doesn't even understand what she is about to experience, but she can't stop talking about it regardless. We've been telling her about what we'll do at the cottage and so every morning she asks if we can go, and every night she tells us that she's going to go swimming at the "cot--igg".

"Fire?" she'll say.

"Yes, don't worry..we'll make sure to have a campfire...and roast marshmallows and make s'mores and get dirty and go swimming, and eat lot's of treats and stay up late and make more memories than you can even fit into that little head of yours".

She smiles from ear to ear, and I realize in these very moments why parents work so hard to give their kids experiences in life.    

All of a sudden it isn't about just Terry and I anymore. And thank goodness--because honestly, these experiences (although more stressful in some ways and definitely more exhausting), mean so much more to me being able to watch my kids experience life in this way.

Before having kids, my main goal of spending a week at a cottage was to relax, sleep in, have a few drinks with friends and soak up the sun--which is what cottages are really all about.

But now? Well, my main goal is to make as many great memories as we can for our kids. I want to fill up their childhood memory bank with some great stuff--so I figure that time away at a cottage is a good starting point.

It'll be a week of  "Sure!".

You want to go swimming again? "Sure!"

You want to have another s'more? "Go for it".

You want to stay up late? "Sounds good to me!".

You want to eat three helpings of chocolate chip pancakes in the morning? "Here ya go!".

Sometimes it just feels good to throw away the normal routine and fall into vacation mode. And although the reality is that sleepless nights might still follow us, toddler meltdowns don't simply vanish since you're on vacation and long car rides with little ones aren't always a piece of cake, I'm still anticipating an incredible time.

This is what I found when I went into Mya's room to put her to bed last night.

"My baby's sleeping", she told me. "One more sleep 'til cot-igg".

I'm just as excited as she is.

If anyone has already lived and learned about what to bring (or really, what not to forget) when bringing little ones to a cottage please let me know. Or tips for long car trips??

Anyone? Anyone??

If you need me anytime soon, I'll be on the dock...chasing after little ones.

Erica xo


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