A Family Vacation To Remember

Anyone who has been through the process of blending a family together with a new partner can hopefully relate to my story. It’s stressful… there’s no way around it. My boyfriend (now husband), Rich and I had many discussions about how to navigate through the week long summer cottage vacations that we arranged for ourselves and our four children. I came into this relationship with a son and daughter, and he with two sons. We were well aware that our children had been affected by the reality of divorce, and our main goal was to show that families come in all shapes and that love can come from those other than blood relatives. Sounds kind of easy, doesn’t it?

We had experienced struggles with getting our children to “like” each other in the beginning, but we persevered and continued to plan these vacations to escape from daily life and really focus on creating memories with them.

Our summer getaway took us about 2.5 hours North East of Oshawa to Bancroft, Ontario, where we rented a friends cottage on a small lake just outside of town. The atmosphere was peaceful, the cottage was private, and the sounds of nature were good for our souls.

We wanted it to be good for our children too, and spent hours searching the internet for fun cottage activities, which brought us to Today’s Parent website. The first suggestion on the list was a scavenger hunt. PERFECT! We’ll divide the kids into 2 teams, send them on their way with a list of things to find and equip them with digital cameras (yes… this was many years ago). Of course there was a prize for the winning team (bribery goes a long way!).

Much of the list we gave them was for typical things you would see around the cottage: fish, spider, bug, leaves, something in the shape of a circle, square, triangle, etc., it was a long list (we needed some quiet time). We added “LOVE” to the list, thinking that they would take a picture of us. My daughter (11) and Rich’s oldest son (12) did just that, but when the scavenger hunt was over, we were disappointed that my son (13) and Rich’s youngest (6) didn’t come take our picture. We thought maybe they just didn’t get to that part of the list.

As we scrolled through their pictures we found this picture on their camera and asked them what this was a picture of. “It’s of LOVE!”

Be still our hearts!

So while this vacation is not in Europe, the Caribbean, Australia or any other exotic location, this picture that captured one of the most unexpected, memorable moments in time at a quiet, non extravagant place, will forever be the vacation when I knew that we were going to make it… together… as a family.

I’d love to hear your stories too so feel free to share in the comments section!

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