Usually the last few days of school are accompanied by lots of feelings and emotions about the end of school; the kids are both excited at the thought of lots of unscheduled days ahead and worried about them, they are happy to be through with school and sad about not seeing their friends, they are looking forward to a new adventure and emotional about leaving their teachers and classrooms behind. But this year was different because as soon as school let out we have been swept up in a whirlwind of activity.
Thursday was the farewell ceremony for the Grade Sixes, followed by a dance which was – by all accounts – EPIC. Friday was the last day of school and we barely had time to bask in the glow of excellent report cards and excitement about new scholastic adventures before we headed off to the airport. My cousin was getting married the next day, and it was a big, old-fashioned family-reunion-type wedding. I was a teenager when I attended her baby shower, and it is very special to see someone who I used to babysit get married.
We rushed to the airport, which, in retrospect, was completely unnecessary. Sudden electrical storms had all flights grounded; no planes were taking off or landing for hours. As the time ticked by I started wondering if we were even going to be able to take off that evening. After a two-hour delay we finally boarded, but the electrical storms that had plagued us in Calgary followed us all the way to Regina. The entire ninety minute flight was extremely turbulent, and by “extremely turbulent” I mean “bouncing off our seats and swaying back and forth in the manner of a carnival ride.” The flight attendants were unable to do anything but remain seated with seat belts securely fastened. It was by turns terrifying and sickening, and when we finally landed I was relieved to see that the weather was fine. Sure, it was late and dark, but at least it wasn’t storming. We had a two-hour drive ahead of us on a bumpy, two-lane, secondary highway.
Half an hour into the drive, the electrical storms started again. Have you ever been in a prairie electrical storm? When lightning flashes, the entire sky lights up in a blinding flash, followed by complete darkness. This, along with a) oncoming traffic in the form of semis on a two-lane highway, and b) rain coming down in sheets, made for a very very long drive. By the time we got to our hotel, it was after midnight. I had been up for over 20 hours straight by that point, and the winds were so strong I had a hard time actually walking through the parking lot. We checked in, got into our room, I went to set up the pullout couch for the boys, and realized there were no linens or pillows for them. Since it was so late, we (read: my husband) had to go to the main desk and retrieve them. By the time we got the bed made up and everyone settled, I was beyond exhausted.
The next day I wondered how much makeup would be required to cover up my eye bags. The lighting in the bathroom was unflattering at the best of times, but after that day of travel, I looked about thirty years older. I kept asking my husband if that was what I really looked like, until he got irritated with the questions. I ended up taking selfies in different parts of the hotel room to see if there were any differences, happily, it wasn’t as desperate as I thought.
We’re going to need a bigger makeup bag.
Of course, I’m happy to say it was all worthwhile to see my cousin so happy, and married to someone who obviously loves her very much. I got to see cousins I hadn’t seen in twenty years or more (many of whom I used to babysit. See also: I am getting old.) My male cousins were good sports to dance with me even though they desperately didn’t want to. The boys and I did the twist, and I even danced with my dad, who complained that I don’t follow well. It’s true. I’m brutal.
I’m also happy to say that the trip home was much less dramatic. We did pass this motel on the way home, and it made me laugh.
You guys, it has cable television AND in-room coffee. Why didn’t we stay there? Now that would have been an adventure.