transitions, trailers and Lake of Two Rivers

Transition time.  I suppose with every transition, we have to find our own way of balancing the tears over leaving behind what is familiar with the excitement of anticipating the future. Em graduated from Grade 8 - and I feel like I was the one who suddenly grew up. Here is our first born, hugging her principal. And me? I'm the one who is at a loss for words because it's hit me that my kid is slowly stepping out of her velcro shoes and reaching for heels and glittery eye stuff. And not because she wants to play dress up.

We were proud parents that night, particularly when Emily sat at the piano to play and sing a song she made up chord progressions for - by simply listening to the song.  She's not one to jump into a crowd of kids and start the fun; she'd rather play it safe by watching. But that night, she stepped out and shone. 

I love this pic of Rachel congratulating Emily. Em's classmates, in all their finery, are giving Rachel sweet smiles - and I will remember this class for their genuine love of Em's sisters....starting all the way back in SK in the fall of 2006.

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Emily isn't the only one going through transition - Rachel had her send-off ceremony at the Children's Centre School last week. After being a part of the the Niagara Children's Centre since 2006, Rachel leaves for her community school, Beacon Christian. And that last day was a teary one. We are all thrilled she is ready to join her peers at Beacon, but we know we will also miss the family at NCC School. 

Janneke will be back at the Children's Centre School. We know the staff will enjoy her spunk, and we look forward to the idea of achieving more milestones. Yes, our gloved one - otherwise known as Janneke- isn't keen to look at the camera, and lately, she has to wear a mitten on one hand to thwart her from rubbing her eye. 

We also shared some love and good byes with our busdrivers. These two are so good with our girls, loving and caring for them the minute they pull into the driveway. We gave them a gift from Rachel that we gave the rest of Rachel's team - a hand-made piece that says "choose joy." This has been our mantra since the birth of Rachel, and it seemed fitting to say good-bye to Rachel's team with this reminder. A special thanks to my neighbour Stephanie of The Primitive Shed for creating these.

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And why not hurry from school and post-surgery to Algonquin? Isn't that what the doc ordered? So, that's what we did. Along with a number of other families that share college history with Ralph at Redeemer U College, we hiked, campfired (that's one of those summer verbs), chased a baby moose and savoured the ambience of Algonquin.

Camping isn't the easiest of holidays with wheelchairs and whatnots, but we were thankful to have Katelyn come along again to help. We are still seeking harmony with the needs and wants of our kids while camping - and learning through our mistakes what works and what doesn't.  But, there are great memories that crowd out the frustration and lack of sleep. 

It was great to see the response of the kids with Rachel and Janneke, particularly with Jeremy who is just a few months younger than Rachel. Often, when I see kids Rachel's age, I am reminded of what Rachel can't do... a bit like salt in the wound. Yet, Jeremy was often over at our site, asking to see Rachel and wanting to touch her hand and talk to her. It was in those moments when this kid's compassion and huge heart superceded my tendency to be bitter or sad. And I caught a glimpse of God's grace and love in that bundle of energy who was otherwise hollering at the "big" kids to include him in the volleyball court.

now back to the laundry...