Happy Birthday Queen Victoria. Thank you for giving us Canadians a completely irrelevant excuse to take a day off work, to gather with our rowdy friends and enjoy the spectacle of blowing stuff up in the night sky. For a stuffy old Victorian chick, you know how to throw a party.
Once upon a time, that’s what this three-day long weekend was for me. It held the promise of adventure, romance, a little trouble and good friends to share it with. It represented our youthful hope that our life could be, would be just like a beer commercial.
Sure, back in our single, kid-free days, the May 2-4 was all about partying, camping in the woods with a ghetto blaster blasting Journey (admit it, you did it), or perhaps canoeing in Algonquin, with no radios at all. It used to be about a buddy’s cottage and boat rides, even though the water was frigid. Late night bonfires and horseshoes on the lawn, wearing layers of clothes because you were never sure what to expect. It’s Canada, after all. And of course, it was about beer.
Except, long weekends are also synonymous with tragedy, usually alcohol related. The headlines coming out of the weekend are often about impaired driving, either in a car or boat, ending in death. There are no excuses to drink and drive. None. Nada. Zilch. Play safe this weekend, friends.
When you become a parent, the agenda of a long weekend changes. Forget the party weekends. You have sports to get to. You have fireworks to book in. Surely to goodness there is a family obligation in there somewhere, too. You have a heavily taxed patch of grass to cut. You have weeds to pull, fences to mend, and dog poop that cannot be overlooked. There is always something to get done and not enough time to do it. Long weekends are simply a tease that you might get stuff done. You won’t. Accept it.
The Carpenter cannot accept it, so I will treat him to some beer, something truly Canadian (as in owned by and produced here) and then stand back and watch him. I can see it now. He will sit in a lawn chair, legs stretched out, crossed at the ankles, holding a beer loosely in his left hand, letting is rest casually on his knee, and in silence he will peer out from under the lid of his sweaty baseball cap with a facial expression of frustrated despair.
He will be looking at his lawn. He will see the patches, the dandelions, and the giant crop circle in the centre of it all. I am no mind reader, but I can read the Carpenter’s mind. He’s thinking, “Why did I agree to a trampoline? It killed my lawn. Where is the pop-up pool going to go? Another crop circle? Great. What about my shed plans? Where has my back yard real estate gone? And why do I bother to cut the grass if it’s just going to grow again? How did this happen to me?”
That is when I will bring him a second beer. It’s the least I can do, because I know in his heart of hearts, he knows the answer.
One day, the grass will grow, but the children will too, so playgrounds and playing catch mean more than picking weeds.
Life is too short not to appreciate a good crop circle. Cheers to that.