We biked, he much faster than I was, stopping occasionally to look out in the harbor. He humored me and allowed me to take photos, even.
Only in BC would you see a salmon crossing!
Near Lost Lagoon, there were all sorts of ducks, pigeons, Canada Geese and a swan nibbling at bird seed someone left behind. Jake and I sat and enjoyed the opportunity to see birds so close. In an effort to get them really close, I put a little bird seed on Jake's shoe. He was a nervous, as all these birds with their pecking beaks came close, but not one would nibble off his shoe.
The swan liked us so much he even wagged his tail feathers when we talked to him!
Next up was lunch. I had packed a cooler full of sandwiches, pecan maple squares, and fruit. A sea gull kept stalking us, hoping we'd throw him treats, and reminded us of Finding Nemo.
"Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!" we squawked at each other, laughing so hard we almost fell off the bench. The tourists looked at us like we were crazy.
For the rest of the day, we watched the beluga show at the Aquarium, saw the unveiling of a beautiful carving in the First Nations village, and laughed as squirrels trying to con treats from the tourists. The day, as every year when we have our back to school day, was perfect.
As we walked back to the car to leave, I began to feel sad. Being the mom of an only child is bittersweet; what do you mean it's almost over?! This year, he's going into grade 10. Long gone are the days where he needed 12 glue sticks in his school supplies, a pair of inside shoes, and markers. This year, all he needed was a binder and his laptop.
Only 2 more back to school celebrations to go until graduation.
Graduation means college.
College means leaving.
I'm so not ready for that. Suddenly it all seemed too quick, too tangible, that the baby who once slept on my chest, the toddler who gripped my hand when we crossed the street, the child who liked to snuggle on the couch, was slipping away.
I hugged him suddenly, hard, as if to slow time down somehow; keep him here with me for a little bit longer, while he's still fourteen and so much fun to be with. My tall, skinny, almost-man with his mop of light brown hair who loves video games and food but most of all, just to be with his Dad and I.
He fiercely hugged me back with a grin and lifted me off the ground, delighted with his new-found size and strength.
"I love you, Mom. That was so much fun! We'll have to come back next year!"
Smiling back up into his blue eyes, I could still see the baby. The toddler. The child.
"Every year. No matter how old you get."