Packed and Ready To Go

A beach towel. A snorkel. Shorts. Flip-flops. Beach shoes. T-shirts. Underwear. A pair of pants for cold nights. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Sunscreen.

March 23, 2014 | | Back Issues | Community | Departments | Headwaters Nest | In Every Issue | Spring 2014

As I write this, many parents are finalizing plans for March Break, whether for a day in the city, a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or a road, train or plane trip. This year, I’ll be taking Adrian out of school for a few days and heading south to Florida to see my parents – snowbirds that they now are.

I love to watch my son pack his suitcase. It’s a small bag that is half backpack, half rolling suitcase. A few years ago, when his plastic baby suitcase became too small and too embarrassing for him to pull around, we took a trip to a department store for an upgrade.

He picked out a brown utility pack that will be his for years to come. I was surprised by his pick. It was quite handsome, with many pockets, sturdy zippers and a black handle. It felt like it would hold up to being loaded with gear, squished into a car and tossed around a few baggage belts. I was confident a near week’s worth of his small clothes could fit into it. A great choice!

When we got home with his purchase, I took off the tags and carried it up to his room. We unzipped the zippers and examined all of the pockets. “Lots of pockets are good,” Adrian explained. “For what?” I asked. “For stuff,” he said. (“Stuff” – obviously!)

So now we were making a list of what he will need for one week in Florida and gathering the goods. A beach towel. A snorkel. Shorts. Flip-flops. Beach shoes. T-shirts. Underwear. A pair of pants for cold nights. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Sunscreen. He picked out many more items of clothing, but I explained we had to be selective, and we could do laundry at his grandparents’ house if necessary.

Once everything was decided, I let him know it was his job to fit all his necessary items into the suitcase. He could do that while I went and packed my own bag.

I went to the basement and grabbed my rolling suitcase, which is quite large and not very feminine compared to some of the stylish cases and gorgeous supple leather totes I see in my travels. In fact, my bag looks a lot like a hockey bag with wheels. It’s quite ugly, but I love it for its utilitarianism. It’s been across the continent with me.

I lugged it up the stairs and packed a few things, carefully calculating the right amount of space to bring home a few new finds. It’s a bit like doing a puzzle, or playing Tetris, packing the perfect suitcase. I called out to Adrian, “Are you done packing?” and I could hear him chit-chatting to himself and walking back and forth, zippers zipping. What a good little guy, I thought. He’s a great traveller already!

“I’ve been packing, Mom! Look!” Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

“I’ve been packing, Mom! Look!” Illustration by Shelagh Armstrong.

I knocked gently and asked, “Can I come in?” “Yes, all done!” he said. I couldn’t wait to see the results of his happy, hard work.

All his clothes, beach gear and toiletries were perfectly in order – right where we had left them on the bed. Instead, there were stuffies everywhere. Books pulled from shelves lay scattered on the floor. Drawers were open and clothing had been strewn across the bed. The room was an absolute mess.

“Adrian, what have you been doing in here?” I asked, my forehead wrinkling into a stepladder of surprise.

“I’ve been packing, Mom! Look!” He opened the pockets, one by one, to show me. “My favourite stuffies are in this main pocket. I am bringing 12 of them, I counted. I have my two favourite books, and my flashlight, and my three favourite hats, and my favourite blanket – but it’s too big, and all of my favourite pencils, and my mini sticks in case we want to play mini-stick hockey, and my picture of my dead cat Zax – who I miss very much, and my alive cat Remy – who I love very much, and my picture of my cousin Cole…”

All the worldly, most treasured possessions that were close to his little boy heart were there, the “stuff” that had made the cut into his big boy bag. I looked from the pile of carefully chosen items we had folded and put out together to the overstuffed case of fluffy things, toys and pictures of cats.

“What about your clothes, Adrian? What about your toothbrush and sunscreen? Don’t you need those things for your trip?” I asked.

“Of course, Mom,” he said, looking up at me seriously. “That’s what your bag is for.”

Calling All Drama Queens and Kings

Channel your child’s inner drama queen or king this summer with programs conducted by our venerable Theatre Orangeville leaders.

What If? is a program where children ages 7 to 10 take part in dramatic games and activities. Led by Gary Sarazin, the program emphasizes fun and structures the “Big Show” so every child is a star and has a significant role. Or how about The “Fun”damentals of Theatre for ages 11–14? It provides an exciting opportunity to explore the essential elements of theatre through improvisation, scripted material and more. These eight-week programs promise to be an exciting diversion from the everyday. Visit for audition and program dates.

Orangeville Earth Day Tree Planting

Over 200 volunteers are needed on Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. to noon to participate in an Earth Day Tree Planting, to help fight climate change and increase the forest cover in the town of Orangeville. No experience is needed, and there will be demonstrations on site. Equipment is provided, but if you have your own shovel, please bring it. After the planting there will be light refreshments and a free barbeque. Select one of the following Orangeville locations to plant trees: 30 Centre St. or Mill Creek Trail, off Hunter Rd. Contact Lindsey Jennings at 905-670-1615905-670-1615 x445 or [email protected].

Free Youth Night

Join the Town of Orangeville for a free Youth Night, sponsored by Mayor Rob Adams’ Youth Advisory Committee. Students in grades 6 to 10 will enjoy swimming, games and activities, and Flash Mob Zumba, with a special guest deejay. It all takes place May 16, 6 to 10 p.m. at the Alder Street Recreation Centre in Orangeville.

Caledon Day 2014

This giant outdoor fair is an all-day free event centred on family fun. There will be demonstrations by Caledon firefighters and the OPP, fair food and live music all day, with all sorts of other activities spread out across the town hall campus on Old Church Rd. The day will be capped off by a free concert, including Big Sugar, with a fireworks finale. Be there on June 14, rain or shine.

Pan Am Picnic

The Toronto 2015 Pan American games are just over a year away! When they arrive, close to 7,000 athletes from across Latin America, South America, the Caribbean and North America will put their years of intense training and perseverance to the test in world-class competition covering 36 Pan Am sports and 15 Parapan Am sports. Caledon and Mono host the equestrian portions of the games. Mark your calendars now – on July 12, Caledon will host a one-year countdown picnic! See for details.

Spring is here and it’s time to get back outdoors! Be sure to check out the events for families and kids on our website, including many Easter “Bunny Brunches” and egg hunts for your little ones. Then check back in April and May for other activities, including our annual Camp Guide which will be posted soon. The popular guide is the most visited page on our site.

About the Author More by Bethany Lee

Bethany Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Mono.

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