With Niagra Falls to my left and Canada directly in front of me, nerves overtook me. I swallowed as I rolled up to the border crossing. Shit. They are never going to let me cross.
The guard said hello. I had all our documents set up: passports, birth certificates, and a very detailed divorce decree. I handed the cute guard our passports and birth certificates first as I fumbled through my divorce decree looking for the travel section. How could I have had everything set up except for the most important thing- the court order allowing me to cross the border with the toddler without permission from my ex-husband? I remember having the lawyer rewrite it at least four times before it was written exactly how I wanted it to be. Embarrassed, I apologized to the guard for not having it ready. He was beyond nice and assured me it was okay,
“How long will you be in Canada?” cute guard says.
“We leave December 1st. Ooops… I lied. Actually, we leave January 1st!” Did I seriously just say that I lied to a border cop?I am just begging to be interrogated. The toddler giggles in the back as the big girls entertain her.
“What brings you to Toronto?”
“Actually, we are just passing through here and driving five hours further to the small town of Arnprior. We will not be stopping in Toronto.”
His mouth drops open. “My mind is blown.”
“Ummmm… really? Why? I don’t understand.”
“I am from that town. Why are you going there?” He seemed just a tad bit suspicious at this point.
“I found a great deal on a Airbnb rental. I know absolutely nothing about the place in all honesty.”
“Oh… well you are going to love it. It is close to Ottawa and Ottawa is beautiful.” He hands me back the passports, birth certificate, and the decree. “I almost forgot. Do you have anything to declare?”
I hesitate. “I don’t think so.” My mind races with what exactly is in my trunk. Literally, everything we own is in our trunk so who freaking knows what could be lurking back there.
“Do you have any alcohol?”
Shit. I forgot to get rid of the bottle of vodka the day before. “I have one bottle of vodka!”
“Okay. No need to declare that. You are good to go. Enjoy my country.”
“Thanks. I am sure we will.”
Holy crap we actually made it across the border. I heard so many horror stories of single parents being turned away for not having the proper documentation for their child. I knew that I would have no issues with the big girls because I was the only one listed on their birth certificates. However, the toddler’s dad was on hers so I made sure that the divorce decree stated I could travel abroad without his consent. Otherwise, I would have needed a notarized letter of parental consent from him and who knows if he would have given it to me. Finally, the expensive divorce decree was put to test and it worked perfectly. Maybe it was worth going into debt for after all?
We rolled under the big Welcome to Canada sign beyond relieved. As nerve wracking as it was, it was a whole lot easier than I expected. No stopping us now.
“Here we go girls!”