I spent the month before Christmas planning ways to keep Sunshine and Lily busy in the Jeep on the drive back to Alberta. Friends at playgroup suggested things that had worked for their kids: sticker books, play dough, music. I packed three little bags with a few toys each, to come out one at a time, and we bought Sunshine a few new toys just for the Jeep. Then we started driving.
Catching the Ferry to Vancouver
We left at 6 am and caught the 8 am ferry for Vancouver. Sunshine enjoys the ferry, for it has a small children’s play space where all the toddlers congregate for the trip across. In Vancouver, while we took a tour to the US border before finding our way onto the highway east, Sunshine pointed to the houses shouting, “That’s Grandpa’s house!” Every half an hour, it seemed, she declared happily, “We’re going to find Grandpa!”
The Drive to Vancouver
As we drove out of Vancouver, the mountains loomed ahead. The first mountains were green. The mountains behind them were frosted green. And the mountains behind those were white. I was driving when we hit the Coquihalla, and a smile spread across my face. The white snow dusting the road and ditches and mountains felt like home. The road was fairly quiet, and other than one section of black ice (where we slid past a rolled-over SUV) and a few sections of blowing snow (where we were stuck in a line of four cars behind a very cautious driver), the highway wasn’t too bad. From Merritt east, the roads were bare and dry.
Stopping in Kamloops
We stopped in Kamloops to visit an old homeschooling friend of mine. When we left, the girls zonked out and I pushed for Golden. Lily and I were ready to get there about half an hour before we did, but finally we arrived. Potty break, change diaper, feed baby, buy coffees, and we were ready to hit the road—home was only three hours away now. We called my in-laws to let them know our ETA and then kept going. A full moon lit up the highway and the mountains, making me think of my dad—it was the kind of night he liked driving in.
We arrived “home” at 2 am and said hello and goodnight and went to bed. Since then, it’s been fun to watch Sunshine playing with Grandma and Grandpa again. She’s enjoyed walking in the snow with Grandma and helping Grandpa feed the dog and the cows. Lily has remained “mommy’s girl,” but will give Grandma or Grandpa a hug for a little bit. One of my favourite moments on Christmas day was watching Sunshine run to my mom as soon as she walked in the room. “Grandma D” was able to stay with us for a few days, and the night that she left, Sunshine went to bed (in the room that she had shared with my mom) and said, “I want Grandma D to come back.”
We’ll be driving back to BC at the end of this week. I’m not quite as worried about the drive back—in fact, we’re going to try it in one day again, though that means we need to catch the ferry on time. Sunshine got some new CDs for Christmas so my husband and I don’t have to go bonkers listening to her favourite “little girl singing song” all the way home. It will be good to get home and return to classes, but as I sit here in Alberta, there’s still so much here that I know we’ll miss when we go back.