Spontaneous Vacations

It started as a pretty regular Monday morning… During breakfast I wrote a sentence on our board for the two little boys, and then I turned away to make some coffee. When I looked back at the board, big brother had come and gone, but he had most assuredly left his mark.

These days of learning how to read and write, you never know what you’re going to find written here and there.


“Can we watch a show?” One of the boys asked me as I was pouring my freshly brewed coffee into my mug.

“Yup.” Slow start holiday Mondays are my favourite.

What happened next while we were drinking that coffee was the following:

“I wish we were doing something awesome this long weekend…” My husband said.

“Yeah, me too.” I answered.

“Hmmm. So like, do you want to try and plan something still?” The very mention of such a thing sounded so deliciously ridiculous.

This has been our life story the past few years… Everyone else across the country has planned out their long weekends, they’ve booked their campsites, picked their activities, packed their bags. And then there’s us. The morning of the actual holiday, drinking coffee and pondering what we’d like to do WITH OUR HOLIDAY.

“OK, I booked it. I even got a deal.” He said.

“Already?! I’ll start packing!” The boys were still watching TV when I burst out of our room with our rolling suitcase.

“OK guys, get dressed, put your shoes on, we’re going on an overnight surprise!” I said enthusiastically.

My boys who often say things like, “I wish I had known you and dad back when you were young and used to be fun…” JUST STARED AT ME.

Then one of them said, “Are you being serious?”

It felt so fun and unpredictable. It felt a bit like the olden days.

They didn’t know what we were doing or where we going, although they got a little excited when I grabbed the swimming inflatables and packed their goggles. Ideas and predications were flying around at record speed, but they weren’t guessing right at all.

At first they were pretty convinced we were going to Grandma’s house. Then they were pretty convinced we were driving the wrong direction just to throw them off course.

Finally about halfway there my oldest cracked the case. “We’re going to that waterslide hotel we were looking at online a few months ago, aren’t we?!” He’s a good surprise solver.

It was the simple things really. Eating candy on our beds together, after jumping on the beds first of course. Going out to dinner, stopping at Walmart for LEGO, swimming for a few hours, and laughing at mom going down a waterslide. Eating chips under the bedsheets, and happily suffering the crumbly consequences.

There were sleep walkers and sleep talkers, weird throat sounds, and snoring… and after all that it was finally morning. Like, sneak downstairs with one kid to bring back coffee and fruit loops for all, before real breakfast and more swimming.

“Want to stop at the train museum on the way home?” He said.

I could have cried tears of joy. We had just studied the building of the railway across Canada, we had just read about the train tracks being built piece by piece, the snowplow cars, the mail cars, the passenger cars… and now I was being offered the opportunity to take my boys to go see the real thing. It was a homeschooling mama’s dream come true.

The best part? The place was only half open, and half the price since the day before had been the holiday Monday. The day before had been pouring rain and packed with people. The day before was not the day we would end up there almost all alone with the bright blazing sun.


We wandered. I gasped. It was great.


We chased each other through the cars. We sat in the seats and tried to figure out who had sat there all the years before us.


I remembered to look up at the mountains surrounding us, to breathe deeply, and just take it all in…

And I remembered to remember what my four little boys looked like sitting expectantly on that mini rail train before our ride. How tightly my three year old hung on to his seat, and how incredibly restorative that breeze in my face felt as we rode that little thing down the track.


And then just like that we drove home… and it was all over.

Did we return well rested? No, we were super happy to see our own beds again.
But did we return refreshed? Yes. Absolutely.
With memories in our pockets? For sure.

Surprises and spontaneous vacations… What a treasure and what a gift.




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