So Saturday morning I woke up, had my coffee in bed with my darling husband and realized what the strange feeling I was having was - it was Target withdrawals. You would have to be a Canadian or something like it to experience this phenomena however. You see Walmart made its way north many years ago but despite the rumours Target has yet to peek its toe into our country. When we go on vacation it is my favorite store to visit. The kids always joke around when we see one - "Mom - it's your store!"
I'm not sure what brought on the feelings this time - it may have been the laundry that still waited in the hamper and the bathroom floor...and the cold, wet stuff that had already been through a cycle Friday afternoon... it might have been that the cat is in heat and sounding loveeely... or just the knowing that the snow outside my door was gonna keep us all inside these walls for yet another weekend.
Then we got a brilliant idea.
It was time for a mini vacation - to Target!!
(Actually just south of the border to stay in a hotel that happens to be near a Target store.)
We went online and got the name of a few hotels and then my darling Hubby called "Tom" from the Fairfield Inn and got us a great deal on 2 rooms. Wow - two rooms. That was a first for us. But we have 4 children now and trying to pack us all in to 2 double beds just isn't working for anyone anymore. So now the older three Cookie(10), Pickle(9) & Coco(12) got their own "Executive King" to themselves - complete with their own card to open the door and microwave and mini fridge. Let me tell you it doesn't take much to please them yet. We threw in an indoor pool and mom and dad were heroes! The girls, Cookie & Pickle got the king size bed and big brother Coco got the pull out couch. The verdict was out on who actually got the remote control.
I should tell you about getting over the border. We picked the line that didn't move. While all four other lines kept creeping along we sat still...and waited. I noticed that even in the other lines the border guards were being ultra diligent - checking through trunks etc. I wasn't sure whether someone was being difficult ahead of us or whether we got the border guard who was in a bad mood and ultra picky. Finally the line began to inch along and we eventually made it to the front. "Kids," we warned, "remember no on talks unless they are spoken to - now quiet!' We went through the ritual, handed over all the birth certificates etc. and waited while she inspected them.
"Where are you going?"
"Just away for a bit"
"How long will you be in the US?"
"Until tomorrow" (Gasps from the backseat - the kids think we are there for the day.)
"Where are you staying?"
"The Fairfield Inn"(more gasps and whispering)
"How's T?" (T is our 3 year old foster - soon to be adopted son who has a travel letter from the agency). My son shouts out "He's sleeping!" from the back of the van. I cringe but she smiles. She goes on to ask us about fostering, how long we have done it etc. Then she smiles and hands us back our ID and says,"What a nice thing to do to foster - that's great - have a nice day." And we were off - no inspection at all.
"We are staying overnight??!!"
We had been trying to keep this a secret so mom and dad could see the the excitement on their faces when we drove up to the hotel not the Target.
"No," I say "Dad just said that so that we could bring back more stuff from the US."
"So, my parents lied to the border guys to get more stuff...we learned about that in Sunday School last week."
I cringe - now in a dilemma over whether I should tell them or not - I decide to keep it going because this could be a great lesson.
"No", it's technically not because we can always change our minds and come home early."
Well my brilliant son wasn't gonna take that for an answer. "He continues to mutter in the back along with his sisters, "How'd ya like that - My mom and dad lied....they lied and said we were staying in a hotel."
I was feeling a bit guilty and the hotel was minutes away so I turned around and announced that we were staying at a hotel. They cheered a bit but the whole moment was lost- darn border
Well we swam, we watched TV, we went shopping even to Target...we made mini memories on our mini-vacation. And then it was time to head for home. It was a beautiful sunny day, the roads were clear and the sky was blue, blue, blue...until we got closer to the lake. What a difference 15 minutes makes. The sky went grey, the snow was falling lightly but there was snow and drifts all over the roads. I didn't think much of it. We are Canadians and this is winter. My husband is a good driver...
And then we hit the icy patch. Our van began to slide all over the road into the other lane and back...and then into the ditch. A big deep ditch actually. The kids were screaming in the back.and when we stopped the snow made a big whoosh over our car.
There we were...stuck, just a few feet from a tree...on the side without hydro poles...with no cars around to have collided with...everyone was seat belted and sitting properly... Angels guiding us straight into the safest thing around - a big pile of snow. A driver stopped, we got a tow truck to pull us out - my little T's real live "Tow Mater" (think "Cars" movie)- he was thrilled.
My older son said it best..."Wow, what a weekend, We went away - my parents lied - then they didn't lie, then we went into the ditch..." What a weekend indeed! Although it ended up not being such a big deal all the couldas I mentioned earlier kept going around in my head. It showed me how much we are not in control of anything in this life really. We can be careful, we can teach our children, we can do everything within our power to control outcomes but in the end we still need our God to take the wheel. The one who sees the future and will guide us every step - good or bad. The one who loves our kids even more than we do. The one who can take a spinning car and land his children safely in a snowbank - reminding us how fleeting this life can be and how eternal He really is.