The highlight and main event of that road trip, however, was the trip to PEI. I was an avid reader as a kid and fell in love with L.M. Montgomery's classic book, Anne of Green Gables, which is set in a small PEI village. My mom loves to recall that as a young child, my sister and I would sit in the back of the car and I would proclaim to her, "I'll be Anne Shirley and you can be my kindred spirit, Diana Barry." Another reason why my dear sister claims I've been bossy since birth.
This weekend TC and I made our own trip to PEI. As we drove around the island observing the pristine skies and breathtaking landscape, I began to think about how much life has changed since I first explored this treasure as a 15-year-old girl. Back then the male love of my life was my father, who in retrospect, I've never properly thanked for taking me to this remote piece of earth and encouraging my literary obsession. PEI doesn't really strike me as the type of place most men would enjoy, but my dad didn't complain once on that trip. He planned every detail to a T and seemed to enjoy the Green Gables tourist attractions nearly as much as us girls.
Most days I don't think I have much in common with my 15-year-old self. I was a late bloomer to all things "teenagey" during those already awkward years, much preferring Beanie Babies and playing make-believe to boys and make-up. My naïveté to the ways of life made it hard to fit in with other teenagers. And yet, at 30, my life experience has me feeling twice my age.
Although it has been interspersed with moments of silliness and joy, life has been heavy the past few years. My heart broke once when my dad first became sick five years ago. It broke completely when I nearly lost TC. Watching my mom fight cancer? Well, I generally feel like I don't have much heart left these days.
However, in the land of shining waters, where L.M. Montgomery gave birth to the character of Anne Shirley, a girl whose passion and imagination rivaled my own as a kid, I felt like me again: the girl who missed her bus stop because she had her nose stuck in a book, the girl who wrote and directed her own plays and home movies, the girl with unbridled enthusiasm who conversed like an adult, but thought like a child.
Adulthood and its many challenges are inevitable. But losing oneself completely to responsibility and practicality isn't a necessary step in evolution. I could have been a much cooler 15-year-old girl, but I'm glad I wasn't. I learned how valuable it is to hang on to childhood while you can and to observe the magic in every day life. And if I ever need another reminder, I'll simply get in the car and return to the island.