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Family vacations are better than Disneyland

July 9th,2024 | Opinion

I’m a mama’s boy at heart – and by the time you read this, I’ll be 42,000 feet in the air, ready to touch down in sunny Saskatoon. There is no Disneyland, no Legoland and no trips to flashy Universal Studios, and yet our entire family can barely sleep because we’re so excited. 

That’s because, for the first time in three years, I get to hug my mom; my daughters get to see their grandma and papa; and I get to pick my stepdad’s brain for life advice – everything from how to fix a leaky faucet to how to console my partner in times of crisis. 

It’s trips like these that prove just how precious family time is. When my partner, Lucy, lost her father last year – may Jack Scholey rest in peace – it gave me some serious perspective on how much time I really have left with my parents. When my mom told me that we could probably count on our fingers the number of times we would see each other again before her time is up, it really hit me. Five? Seven? 10, if we are lucky. My mom isn’t sick, and she’s fairly young, but travelling halfway across the country isn’t often feasible. 

Being away from family is hard. I have seven sisters, all of them spread out between Calgary, Saskatchewan and the U.S. The last time we were all together – all seven girls and me – was in 2006, almost 20 years ago. 

Several of them have babies that I have yet to meet in person; they’ve gone through life events I wasn’t there to help them through; they’ve had successes, failures and everything in between; and I’ve been a distant spectator for much of it. 

And that’s why trips like our excursion to the prairies are so special because vacations like this are rare, and travelling to Saskatchewan with four people is about as expensive as it would be to go on a cruise or a Mexican resort trip. 

Sure, Mexico would be great. I’d sit on the beach, sip sangria and forget about the rest of the world. I would come back, and people would say, “Tell me about your trip,” and there wouldn’t be much to say. 

But after we get back from Saskatchewan, there will be plenty to reminisce about. My oldest will likely brag to her friends about how her papa taught her to drive a truck on the farm or that she got up on a wakeboard. My youngest will have stories of beating grandma at cribbage, or how she caught a huge pike at the lake. 

My partner will remember how beautiful the prairies can be, with the epic sunsets and the storms you can see coming for days. 

And for me, I’ll still be savouring my mom’s special carrot cake, embracing her warm hugs and telling her, at every possible chance, how much I love her. 

And when I finally cross that final trip home off my list, I’ll have so many of these memories to reflect on and help me through the difficult times ahead. 

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