There is only one thing you need to know

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I have recently returned from a trip to the French River, where I spent a week with my girlfriends, swimming, canoeing, hiking, and eating chocolate on the beach, in the canoe, in the car; well, you get the idea.  We had a fantastic time because of one simple rule that we all followed:  You have to speak up to make your needs known.

We made it clear from the outset that this vacation was for all of us, and each of our needs deserved to be met. For example, one morning I was feeling particularly vulnerable and didn’t want to go hiking with the rest of the girls.  So they went hiking without me, and there was no hard feelings between us.  I had a wonderful time sitting by the river reading a book, and taking a swim when I needed to cool off.  This fulfilled my need for some solitary time perfectly.

I’m not the only one who enjoyed some “me” time.  Louise enjoys quiet mornings of reflection and journaling.  Whereas Izzy liked to spend her morning reading by the river. Lucy liked to swim first thing, while I slept in every day.  And when I did wake up, you could find me on our screened in porch journaling with a cup of tea close at hand. It was the perfect marriage of everyone getting their needs met.

Other times we’d split up: two and two.  Like when Louise and I hiked in Killarney Provincial Park, while Izzy and Lucy had a relaxing day back at the camp and everyone was happy because we all got to do what we wanted.  This came about because one person had a greater need that called for a bit of compromise.  I had been looking forward to seeing the La Cloche Mountains, and Louise knew how important it was to me.  She was happy to join me because she had no vested interest in whether she stayed behind with Lucy and Izzy, or came with me.  I was so glad she did.  We had a wonderful day hiking the Granite Ridge Trail to the top where we had a fantastic view of the La Cloche Mountains, followed by a visit to the village Killarney on Georgian Bay – spectacular.  I don’t think either of us would have wanted to miss that trip.

Then there was the time when we were ready to leave the lodge, Izzy wasn’t going with us because she was being picked up by a friend to spend some time with them before she went home.  Instead of leaving her alone for hours before her friend arrived, we all stayed to share a picnic lunch with her after we checked out.  Although that left Lucy alone to drive home, she didn’t mind because she knew how important it was for Izzy to spend time with her friend.  Lucy ended up coming with Louise and me to spend a couple of days on Wilson Lake with some friends of hers.


Sometimes we did things together.

We did many things together, however.  Our canoe trip to Five Finger Rapids was a great adventure.  Dinner at the lodge on our last evening was incredible.  And on one particular day, we all simply wanted to hang around the camp and relax, so that’s what we did.  And we had a blast playing Catch Phrase and drinking wine a couple of evenings.  We were all laughing so hard, we were worried we might disturb the neighbours.

When I got back to town and told a friend what an incredible week we had at the French River, she said, “Nobody got mad about anything?”  This surprised me. This was our second time visiting Pine Cove Lodge in as many years, and each time there’s been no fighting, backbiting, or angry words of any kind. There were no hard feeling, temper tantrums, or simmering frustration because no-one was able to read your mind. We simply had an amazing time. And I do believe that this was in no small part due to the fact of this one simple rule:  You’ve got to ask for what you need.


Categories: Memoir

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