A couple days before we left home in Nova Scotia, my sister Cheryl sent me a text. I could almost hear her excitement through the words on the screen, “We’re going to have the best birthdays ever! I took your birthday off (May 23) and mine off (May 30)”. And so it was… For Cheryl’s birthday we biked into town, had the best poutine lunch at Claire’s favourite spot, and then settled in for a decadent coffee (hot chocolate for Claire). There wasn’t really a plan.

By the second week I could feel the accumulated stress of the past 6 months begin to dissipate. It really helped that we were parked in a little wooded paradise. One evening Cheryl, Claire, Stella, and I went for a walk up the “Red Trail”, the hiking trail behind the house. We could see a storm brewing in the distance. From the look-off the sky was spectacular, but the storm was moving quickly so we picked up the pace to a jog back down the trail. Suddenly the…

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