After work today, I was watching the kids play Lego, and talking to them about the highlights of their day. For some reason, that I can’t bring myself to remember now, Meghan denied that she had a birthday. She insisted that she did not turn four ten days ago. “I am three!”, she declared, leaving no one with any desire to argue the point.

Sadly, she’s not alone in wishing that we could turn back the clock a little. My heart aches at the thought of my baby losing her baby face, which seems to be happening overnight.

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She talks in sentences more complicated than most adults could string together. She can pick out an outfit, and dress herself, like the fashionista I always wished to be. She can do up and undo her car seat belts, all by herself. Tonight, she brushed her own teeth, and it caught me so off guard, that I convinced her to let me do another quick once over.

I’m not ready to leave this stage, and thankfully she’s not going to wait around for me to catch up. I mean, I should be grateful that she’s a healthy, developing, growing girl. I just wish that somehow, there was a way to go back and visit that baby I held in my arms four years ago, especially knowing the character that she would grow into.

Meggie’s birthday fell at the end of our holiday. She had a little party with her cousins, and my family a few days earlier, and then we had her actual birthday with Len’s family. Based on the forecast, we’d planned a day at the beach, the water park, the playground, and a picnic for all the family. Unfortunately, the forecast did not foresee the rain, which was kind of the theme of our week away. Megs got to spend most of her big day on a swing though, so life was good, and we topped it off with an ice cream cake with a kitty cat on it. Is there anything better?! Not in her world.

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In the grown up world of planned holiday time though, and great expectations, I’ve had better holidays. Rain, clouds, cold, sick kids, brake failure (in the best place for it to happen…a very small town road, and thankfully NOT the freeway!), another brake job (at the expense of the parts supplier who gave us a faulty caliper!), massive cold sores for both Len and I, a two-sailing wait for the ferry, and then losing track of each other on the ferry for the first time ever! Sounds fun, huh?

I should have seen it coming. I mean, things didn’t start out as planned, and we weren’t even at the ferry before I could count on two hands all the things that were not in the car that should have been. But the forgotten luggage was actually quite a good story, that -at the expense of my dear husband- got many laughs from friends and family along the way.

He did say though, “We’ll laugh about this….right? Eventually, we’re going to laugh about this?” when I opened the container of yogurt I’d asked him to bring, only to notice it read FETA across the top, and actually contained last night’s leftover spaghetti sauce. Definitely a sign to set aside my expectations of beaches, swimming in the lake, sunshine, and lovely dry heat. Obviously, I ignored the signs, and tried to make the best of it.

The reason that things were left behind, and we didn’t dare go back to get them, was because we were in a hurry to get to our destination: Liam! He was at Granny and Grampa’s place for two weeks and two days without us, and I think we all felt like his void was going to swallow us up if we waited one more millisecond to see him!

He had a great time with the cousins, his Aunt and Uncle, Granny and Grampa, and only missed us a couple of nights at bedtime. Thankfully, he was lucky enough to have the fantastic weather we had so hoped to enjoy.

Meghan, I think, enjoyed the undivided attention she got from both of us in Liam’s absence, but I know she missed the company, and entertainment her brother provides. I learned from those two weeks of silence, just how quiet Meggie really is. I knew she was a bit of an introvert, but the silent car rides, with hours between comments absolutely confirmed my impression of her as someone who prefers to keep her thoughts to herself. She is the complete opposite of Liam, who must share EVERYTHING. I wonder where he gets that?

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The time alone with my introspective little girl was something to savour. She and I had a float around in the warmest ocean water I’ve ever experienced in BC. The tide at Rathtrevor Beach (near Parksville) goes out for about a kilometre. In the afternoon, the tide rolls it’s way back in, and the sun baked beach is very quickly covered with water, but only about two feet deep. It’s as warm as nice bath, and to my surprise I actually found myself swimming in the Straight of Georgia! I can’t even put my toes in at our beach!

So, Meghan and I floated around one afternoon in our little two person dingy, rocking on the waves in the sun. It was so peaceful, and relaxing, that she fell asleep leaning on my legs. I shaded her with my sarong, and we stayed like that, drifting around the beach for the rest of the afternoon. Len gallantly waded out to bring me the most delicious, and satisfying lime margarita I have ever had in my life, with ice and salt and everything that makes it the perfect hot weather beverage (but only in small doses). That, my friends, is summer defined in it’s very best light.

My four year old has graduated to enjoying camping after our experiences this year. Her oft-quoted comment from last year was, “Stupid camping!” It was raining. I don’t blame her. But, this year, she loved it. She loved it so much, she didn’t even want to go to the beach at first, because camping is a campsite, not the beach too.

But by mid-way through our second day, she said, “This is way better Mum! Camping is waaay better than Liam’s!” Meaning, her holiday was far better than anything he was doing at Gran and Grampa’s. If she was sad when he left, and sad that she wasn’t allowed to go too? Well, any sad definitely went away with that camping trip.

We’ve had a good summer. We had a memorable, if not perfect holiday. And I think from what she described to me the other day, Meghan had a good birthday, on the swing in the lakefront park, getting pushes and laughs from her Mama.

The other night, Megs called out for me, and I went to her bed to comfort her. Once she was settled back under her covers, she said with a smile, “Mum I’m going to draw you a picture for your birthday. It will be of a lake, with trees in front of it. And there’s a swing, and a grown up, and a little girl. And the grown up’s name is Michelle, and the little girl’s name is Meghan. And she’s in the swing, and she’s saying, We forgot the luggage!”