Ah, moving with a toddler. Now there was an interesting experience.
The drive was about 35 hours long. I did it in three days when I moved to Ottawa originally, but I didn't have a two year old and a couple cats in the backseat, so we gave ourselves four days and said we'd stop when we needed to each night.
Surprisingly, though, we didn't need the four days. The little guy did amazing on the trip. We made it 10 hours on the first day. He fell asleep just before we were about to stop for the night on the second day, so we kept going, making it 15 hours that day. Another 10 hour push and we were home. He was pretty fed up by the last three hours of the trip, but unfortunately for all of us there was literally nowhere to stop! Ah, northern living. Fun stuff.
Honestly, I think the toddler did better than the cats. They were unhappy felines the entire trip. They refused to get out of the car to use the litter box or have food and water every time we stopped, so they went each long day with full bladders and empty stomachs. Lucky for them, they decided the hotel washrooms were an acceptable place to relieve and refuel themselves each night.
Just after leaving Ottawa, there were a few brief moments of "oh my, how are we going to survive this trip" when first one cat started meowing, and then the other – and then the toddler joined in. We both groaned at that point, with visions of 35 hours worth of three meowing voices. Fortunately, he lost interest in imitating the cats within a bearable span of time. The cats themselves kept it up for much longer (and received many a grumbled threat from my husband about leaving them on the side of the road to fend for themselves in the wild), but we're here, so we must have survived.
We had talked often with the little guy about our upcoming move in the month prior to it. We talked about saying goodbye to this house, driving to a new house, and seeing Grandma and Grandpa and all his aunties. He seemed to understand and he handled all of the changes with amazing calmness. The hardest part has been his repeated requests for two of his friends, Luke and "Liah" (Eliah). How do you tell a little boy that he'll never see his friends again, or at least not for a few years? So far he hasn't found any little friends to play with here, either, other than his four aunties (the youngest being only eight years old) – and even if he did, he'd only have to say goodbye to them again when we move to Vancouver in the fall. That is always the hardest part about moving, though - having to say goodbye to so many of the people you care about.
The brightest spot, on the other hand, was coming home to family. It has been such a blessing to see the little guy really getting to know his grandparents and aunties. I grin every single time I hear his excited squeal of "GAMPA!!!" when he sees us turn in his grandpa's driveway. It just melts my heart. I've been enjoying spending time with the oldest of my little sisters (she's 23 now), and, of course, with the rest of my family. It will be hard to say goodbye in the fall. While we don't have family in Vancouver itself, my in-laws are all in the area and, I'm sure, itching to visit whenever they can. I know Jacob will miss "Gampa" and all the rest horribly, but he loves his Opa and Oma and two aunties too. Hopefully we will be able to see them often.
And then, come Christmas, he'll have a new little brother or sister to get to know. How blessed we are.
We are so happy with our new home here. It's hard to believe we were paying slightly more rent for our little condo back in Ottawa as we are for this three bedroom, two level house now. It sits on four acres of land and is just outside of town, about a 10 minute drive to my workplace. Country living has been wonderful. With both of us being introverts, the extra privacy and quietness is great, and our huge yard has gotten lots of use already. There are little shoes filled with sand from the sandbox, sweatshirts that smell of woodsmoke from the firepit, a freshly dug garden, and lots of land and forest to explore. We will miss it when it's time to leave.
We won't miss, though, the hard smelly water and the painfully s l o w Internet connection. You can't have it all, I suppose.
But how blessed we are to have so much.