Once Upon a Summerland
My family and I recently spent a week's holiday in the Okanagan (Summerland to be exact). Growing up, Summerland was our annual family vacationing spot. Visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, picking cherries, swimming in the lake EVERY day, strolling the streets of the tiny downtown were among some of the activities I looked forward to all year round.
Being the highly nostalgic person that I am, the memories I have of this place can be painful. The fact that I'll never lay eyes on my extraordinarily talented Grandpa's workshop again, or watch him fall asleep in his recliner while he watches Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy after dinner with a diet 7-Up by his side, brings a unique and familiar ache. Knowing that my beautiful Grandma will never be able to see, with lucid eyes, the woman I've grown into or the incredible man that I've married, weighs heavy on me every time I visit this place.
While this sadness lingers, this trip was notably different. This was the first time I have "vacationed" to Summerland as an adult. It was the first time my nieces and nephew visited this beautiful place. This was our first chance for all of us as a family to make beautiful memories of our own - and it was perfect.
Now.. I will admit, being around four kids for an entire week is not something I'm used to, and while it was mildly exhausting at times, these kids gave me a gift that I never realized before this trip. Anyone in my family will attest to the fact that I'm not necessarily the best playmate to have around - queue my husband. The greatest guy on earth who I happened to marry is also THE BEST UNCLE IN THE WHOLE WORLD? True story, and I, and my entire family are extremely thankful for him. However, every once in a while, this Auntie comes up with some sort of silly game/voice/funny and ridiculous scenario and they LOVE it. As a fairly socially anxious person, it can take me a while to warm up to people and be my true self. What I discovered on this trip is that.. not only do my nieces and nephew accept me for my weirdness... they celebrate it. They celebrate every ridiculous face and voice that falls out of me and I am forever grateful for their kind, innocent and accepting hearts.
If you're seeing this right now, I hope you enjoy these photos! I had the best time capturing the moments of each and every one of these special people.
Photo credit to Cam Johnston for the photos of me in them (obviously) and to the funny ones of the kiddos at the end!