This weekend my sister and I packed up the girlies and joined our parents for a trip to British Columbia to celebrate the wedding of our very dear friends.
Avery was thrilled at the thought of leaving the country. She counted down the days until "Canada," quite aware that tossing around the name of a distant land held a certain, impressive distinction.
Finally, the big day arrived. With enhanced licenses, birth certificates and "permission slips" from the fathers neatly tucked into a manila folder, we crammed Dad's truck full of suitcases and every other thing a girl could possibly need for a weekend. (Including two swim suits apiece. Because you never know.)
After much cramming-of-gear and purchasing-of-mochas-and-hot-chocolates, we hit the road. It was perhaps on account of the beverage purchasing, however, that we didn't make it far before it became necessary to visit a rest stop.
And so we inched our way north.
The adults were required to speak in code for the first half of the drive. This was because we had devised a surprise detour for the girls. So when Miss Kate announced her need to use the restroom (again), we casually said that we'd be able to take the next exit in Seattle. The next exit seemed very far away to a desperate six-year-old, but Noni pulled out every distraction technique in the book, and we made it.
That next exit led us to a certain mall, which just happened to have a certain restroom, which just happened to be right across from the American Girl store. There was a substantial amount of jumping and squealing and hand clasping.
We had never been to an American Girl store. It was wonderful. I felt like a little girl again. (And I really wanted to buy myself a doll.) The girls had saved up some money, so they were delighted when I told them that they could pick out an outfit.
We looked over every inch of that store, watching the girls weigh the options (and watching Dad take his exit, choosing to not shop at the Doll Mecca). They made their selections, bright-eyed and a bit awestruck, and we hit the road again.
For dinner we met up with other wedding-bound friends at the Olive Garden. We filled the dining room with laughter and garlic, then parted with good luck wishes for the border crossing.
We were well prepared with our border crossing documents. The girls were quiet as church mice in the back seat. My sister was at the wheel, and Dad and Mom were ahead of us in their truck, paving the way.
We timidly approached the gate and handed over our documents. The man-in-the-booth did not crack a smile once. He grilled us. My sister forgot where she lived. He stared. He punched numbers into the computer. He memorized the birth certificates. He demanded the permission notes. He stared some more.
It was all very solemn.
After what seemed like ages, his gloved hand eventually extended, returning the documents, and we breathed a sigh of relief when he finally muttered, "Have a nice evening." It seemed a rather contradictory farewell, but we took it.
We pulled back into traffic, hearts fluttering, eyes wide. "We did it!" The girls nervously giggled, and we realized that we could talk normally again. No more booth man. No more birth certificates. No more practicing of "How little girls should speak when questioned by a stern guard." We had arrived in British Columbia.
That obstacle behind us, we completely relaxed and anticipated the delightful weekend that stretched out before us.
To be continued . . . .