Whoever would have thought the Skytrain would be so much fun? (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson column: The best award is happy children

A weekend away at the BCYCNA awards

This past weekend my family braved B.C. Ferries and made our way over to the Big City.

I had been named a finalist for an industry award for outdoor recreation writing and the Citizen was a finalist in general excellence. We attended to awards gala.

SEE RELATED: Neighbours aim to oust gun club from Cowichan park

I’ll be blunt. I hate dressing up. I’m not good at donning a dress and shoes that aren’t sneakers and looking like a proper grown up. Hey, if it works for you, so be it. I’m happy you enjoy it. It’s just not me. It makes me uncomfortable. I don’t feel confident. I much prefer sweatpants and a t-shirt and a sturdy pair of running shoes.

I bit the bullet this year, though, but only really for my kids. I’m from the Lower Mainland and most of my family still lives there. I wasn’t going to give up an opportunity for a work-sponsored trip home to visit. We don’t get over very often anymore and boy do my kids love their cousins.

(Plus, it meant a kid-less night out with my husband in a hotel room — just the third night away since we became parents almost five years ago.)

The downside: dressing up and pretending to enjoy it.

Obviously I had nothing suitable in my own closet but luckily my mom and sister did. They selected dresses for me to try on and I begrudgingly indulged them. To my shock, everything seemed to fit. Some looked better than others, of course, but my children were gobsmacked, telling me with every new look that I was beautiful. (They were probably just after treats.)

I picked the dress everyone seemed to agree on and that was that. That’s adulthood for you: doing what needs to be done, albeit through various states of discomfort.

Then came the texts from the friends of mine that knew what horrors I was enduring.

“Send me a picture!” said one.

I sent her a dark photo of the side of the dress hanging from a bookshelf.

Man, I’m funny, I thought to myself.

“I expect a dress and hair brushed picture tomorrow. WITH a smile,” wrote another.

So, I sent her a photo of me in a dress, WITH a smile, that I found in an old photo album at my sister’s from when I was about five years old.

I found that really funny.

“Take a pic in your dress,” messaged a third.

By then I was a couple of glasses of wine into the evening, and it was well after the banquet. So, I sent her a photo of the dress, but crumpled up on a chair in my hotel room.

“Woah!” she wrote. “The night is getting good!”

And it was.

I had received second place for my writing, which in my mind is better than first because I got recognized for my work but didn’t have to give an acceptance speech to 300 people while feeling like a fish out of water — or at least a fish trying to swim with its fins suppressed by a dress.

Not to mention, my husband and I got to watch a TV show that wasn’t animated all while laying on furniture we didn’t have morph out of “fort-mode” just to use. Plus, I was finally back in my sweatpants and t-shirt.

In truth, it was Sunday’s events that made Saturday’s dress discomfort worth it.

We picked up the kids from my mom’s that morning and took the Skytrain to the Lego store in Vancouver and back. The trek featured a tunnel underwater, a bridge across the Fraser River and a tunnel under Cambie Street. It featured a moving sidewalk and a giant revolving door, escalators, and a four-storey parking garage. We saw two (man-made) waterfalls and condo buildings the kids deemed to be skyscrapers and no fewer than five giant construction cranes.

To see the delight on my small town kids’ eyes during their big city adventures was worth having to get dressed up for an evening (and being ribbed about it) any day.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Duncan looks to public for ideas for Whistler Street, downtown park

Workshops to be held concerning 85 Station St. and Whistler Street

Andrea Rondeau column: There are good people in Cowichan, along with the bad

The generosity of the people and businesses in the Cowichan Valley never ceases to warm my heart.

Sarah Simpson Column: Haunted by the never-ending to-do list

“I just need to…” I find myself saying that a lot to… Continue reading

Tired Quw’utsun FC takes on Gorge

Busy weekend in Campbell River wraps up with league game in Ladysmith

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read