It was five years ago when the last leg of the long journey took us across the spectacular Columbia Icefield in Canada, through some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine.
Appropriate that the final road we travelled was winding, because the protracted path to that point could hardly have had more twists and turns, dead ends, detours and stop signs along the way, all eventually navigated.
That morning I’d got to say Happy Mother’s Day to my own Mum, both of us half a world away from home. I’d got to hug Dad too, grateful and yet fearful for him in his hopeful recovery from prostrate cancer, knowing he’d soon be back home in Australia and I’d still be half a world away.
We waved them off on the train from Jasper to Vancouver and set off to drive to the famous ski resort town of Banff.
The spring sunshine was slowly melting the patches of snow still on the ground, the landscape caught between winter and warmth. As we drove further, reaching the largest Rocky Mountains icefield in North America, any sign of the season was covered by the winter white formed by eight glaciers and framed by snow-capped peaks.
And then the air became frosty in a flurry of whispy white flecks that drifted down in a drizzle.
We drove on, stopping to watch back-country ‘off piste’ skiers trek up a slope in view of the road, the long hike to the top rewarded in a rush downhill that seemed over in seconds. Still the trek seemed worth it. Like all good climbs.
And then we drove into Lake Louise, perhaps the the most picturesque place in post-card perfect Canada, stopping for afternoon tea at the famous Chateau.
On my first mother’s day with our family finally complete, it starts to snow again.
Proper snow – fat, fluffy, feathery flakes, floating down in a soft sprinkle at first, that soon becomes a dazzling dusting, that settles into a serene sea of white all around us, mesmerizing, magical.
Flakes flutter down like frozen butterflies, carpeting everything in plush pile and all we can do is watch on in wonder.
It is not the first snowfall we’ve experienced in Canada – snow fell a few days after we arrived and we’d had several heavier falls that seemed to whitewash the past and leave everything bright and brand new. I’d pinched myself to have our daughter and at last to have our son too, to be in Canada living a life in which dreams finally come true. The cold, crisp air seemed so fresh and full of possibility.
But this mother’s day snowfall, so late in the season, so surreal, was so very special.
My first mother’s day, with our Miss Yin back in 2005 was remarkable of course, especially after an eight-year journey of infertility, IVF and the long adoption process. Six years later, after another long wait to complete our family our Canadian mother’s day was the one that I’d wondered would ever happen.
And it did. And just like that it snowed.
Don’t give up on your dreams – expect them to be even more sublime that you could ever imagine.
(We lost all our video and most of our images when our camera, video camera and laptop were stolen later in the year – I know boo hoo!. But those memories remain crisp and clear as the frozen Canadian air. Frozen in time. Preserved in love.).