Last year Les started a new tradition -- a father-daughter camp-out. He took Joelle out for one night last year and this year they went out for two nights (next year -- once she's out of diapers -- Malia will go along too!).
They set up their tent at White Lake on Tuesday evening and got home today right before supper. Although they had a lot of cloudy weather and some rain, they still had a great time. Joelle even made some new friends out there who were also on a camp-out with their dad.
They spent some time fishing -- and Joelle even caught her first fish!! They also took a trip to Rainbow Falls and ate breakfast at a restaurant, where Joelle got a pancake in the shape of Winnie-The-Pooh with blueberries for eyes and a strip of bacon for its mouth.
Malia was very upset when she watched them leave on Tuesday evening though. She was far from impressed that she was being left behind. But when I put her to bed that night, her frustration of feeling left out seemed to turn into an almost desperation. She cried for her Daddy as if she thought he wasn't ever coming back. It nearly broke my heart!!
Her and I did have a good time together though. Although I have to say -- life is easier with two kids!! I mean, bedtime and mealtime are a bit busier and all of that...but at least they have each other for company!! Malia was at quite a loss without her big sister around and she was quite unsure of what to do with herself. She needed me by her side pretty much non-stop. We made a trip to the city on Wednesday which seemed to help keep her distracted. But today was a long day as we were both more than ready for the other half of our family to come home.
Malia didn't mention Joelle much in the morning -- but shortly before lunch while the two of us were plunking away on the piano, she noticed our family pictures sitting on top of the piano. She took them in her hands and after pointing out Grandma and Grandpa and some aunts and uncles, her eyes settled on her Daddy and Joelle. Her lower lip quivered, her eyes looked full of sadness and she said "Joelle" in a teary voice. I would try and distract her only to have her return to the picture minutes later and give the same reaction.
"Joelle...??? J-o-e-l-l-e!" (sniff, sniff)
Poor girl. Her heart was breaking in two as she just did not understand that their absence was only temporary. She's been without her dad for a night or two at a time -- but never without her sister!! I think she truly believed that they were gone for good. My heart nearly broke alongside of hers as I realized how sad she really was about all of this.
When Les called to say they were about 20 minutes away from home, we went out to sit on the porch to wait for them. She was very excited to see the Jeep pull up into our driveway and when Joelle was released from the vehicle, she went up to her and immediately gave her a hug.
Of course 2 minutes later they were fighting...but it was good to have my family all back together again!!
And Joelle must've really missed me too because she clung quite tightly to me when I tucked her into bed tonight.
It's a special new tradition, and I have to say I'm especially looking forward to next year when I will have 2 days all to myself!!!