No Wall On This Border
With Niagara Falls to my left and Canada directly in front, nerves overtook me. I swallowed as I rolled up to the border crossing. Crap. 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 had the freaking lawyer rewrite the damn thing at least four times before it was written exactly how I wanted. Embarrassed, I apologized to the guard for not having it ready. He was beyond nice and assured me it was okay.
Joking With Border Officers Is Risky Business
“How long will you be in Canada?”
“We leave December 1st. Oops… I lied. Actually, we leave January 1st!” Did I seriously just say that I lied to a border officer? I am just begging to be interrogated. The toddler giggles in the back as the big girls try to 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 are not stopping in Toronto.”
His mouth drops open. “My minds blown.”
“Ummm… really? Why? I don’t understand.”
“I am from Arnprior. Why are you going there?” He seemed just a tad bit suspicious.
“Honestly, I found a great deal on an Airbnb rental. I know absolutely nothing about the town.”
“Oh… well you are going to love it. It is close to Ottawa and Ottawa is beautiful.” He hands me back the passports, birth certificates, 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?”
Shoot. 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.”
Don’t Sweat It
Holy crap. We actually made it across the border. I heard so many horror stories of single parents being turned away or detained and questioned for not having the proper documentation. I knew 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 her’s 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 after all.
Beyond relieved, we rolled under the big Welcome to Canada sign. As nerve-wracking as it was, it was a whole lot easier than I expected. No stopping us now.
Tag, You’re It!
Has anyone had any issues while trying to cross a border? Comment below with your craziest stories.