We went skating at school this week and I went to a London Knights hockey game with Daddy!
Most of this week – for Emelia and I – was focused on one day: Friday. One of the things Emelia had been bugging for some time to do with me was to go and see a real, live hockey game. And one of the special surprises that showed up at Christmas for Emelia was a pair of tickets for her and I to have a Daddy ‘n’ Daughter date at a London Knights home game. The plan was to go downtown early enough to get dinner and then go to the game. We were both excited about the night!
Emelia has long since identified that hockey is one of Daddy’s things he likes a lot. He likes to play it Friday mornings early, before work. He likes to watch it and shout things at the television. And he even has a bunch of stinky hockey gear down in the laundry room that is always airing out between games. Emelia has also sorted out that she likes to cheer for the team that has the best looking hockey outfits. (Her Daddy might even make some of those same judgment calls)
I let Emelia down this summer by never getting around to getting her and I tickets to go watch a London Majors baseball game in the historic Labbatt Park. In my defence though, we did spend that time wisely taking Wolfie somewhere to camp any spare moment we had. But, it was easily made up to Emelia the moment I suggested we in stead go see a hockey game. That was a promise much easier to keep—mostly cause hockey isn’t in camping season!
So, with the delivery of tickets from the fat man in the red suit on Christmas (and special thanks to one of Danielle’s daycare families), we were all set for a perfect Friday night that even gave Danielle, the opportunity for a quiet night to herself.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t doubtful that Emelia would enjoy the entire game or that we’d even make it to the end of game buzzer before she was bored of the game. I have been okay for a very long time that hockey is really my thing, and I don’t expect (or hope) that Danielle or Emelia take to it the same way I have, or by osmosis. I long ago told Danielle that I would never take it personal if she didn’t care about coming to watch me play, and the same goes for Emelia.
That said, Emelia seemed very excited about the whole prospect leading up to the game. She was excited and asked some questions about players on the Knights and wanted to know a lot of stuff that made me brimming with happiness to share with her. We figured out who my favourite player on the Knights was and we talked about how we saw him play for Canada in the World Junior Hockey Championships over the Christmas break.
The first order of the day on Friday, after my usual Friday morning hockey – given that Emelia had a PD day – was to start work on the half wall that Emelia needed in her doll house to give Kit some separation in her loft bedroom/bathroom of course. It took a trip to Home Depot for construction supplies and far more cutting, measuring and gluing than Emelia had attention span for. But by the end of the daycare day, we had the half wall almost complete and Emelia was pleased.
With that out of the way it was time to clean up and head downtown for the game. We got the car parked and headed over to the rink in time for about a 20 minute wait before the open up the ticket gates. We of course had to stop in the London Knights fan shop to find some London Knights fan wear for Emelia. When Emelia was having trouble making a decision, we settled on getting our dinner, finding our seats and thinking over what she’d like on a full tummy. With more than half of a ball park frank in her tummy she landed on the London Knights hoodie we first saw as her choice so we headed back to the shop and picked up her hoodie.
Funny enough before the game started, I tried to prepare Emelia that because hockey is a very fast game with bodychecking that some players might get angry, and might get into a fight. I explained how it usually the result of something that has built up over the game and when anger and frustration take over someone may get into a fight as a result. I also told her how fighting isn’t allowed, and the players get penalties. Sure enough, less than 10 seconds into the game, sticks dropped, gloves came off and we had ourselves a knuckle-duster.
To say Emelia had a great time would be the understatement of the year! She was so curious to learn about the game and the skill it requires. She loved their mascot Sir ‘Scorezy’ and really enjoyed all videos on the score clock. She was also beside herself that you could get popcorn between periods to munch on during the game. But, her absolute favourite part – thanks to the Knights scoring a lot (7 goals!) – was the dance that the fans who have been to enough games to know how to do after every Knights goal.
My favourite part of the game, aside from every last second of it was the conversation we had mid way through the second period. I mean it was great that for once she wanted to do something with just me and Mummy didn’t have to be there for her. But I was telling her how hockey is one of my all-time favourite things, and that she is another of my all-time favourite things so this evening put those two things together and that made me very happy. She thought about it for a second or two and then told me “I am happy too, Daddy” and then grabbed my arm tight and leaned in and snuggled with me in a way that will forever be etched in my mind.
Emelia was tuned into the action from start to finish and genuinely sparked curious and thoughtful questions about the game that showed me that none of this was about doing something just cause Daddy likes it. She genuinely cared to understand it and why I love it so and in that way, made me fall in love with this thoughtful, little girl even more. Even when we got home, well after her bedtime, she bound through the door and wanted to tell Mummy all about the game. In fact as I tried to explain on the way home that because how late it was she was going to be heading straight to bed when she got home she was most upset at the idea that she wouldn’t be able to tell Mummy all about the game. We settled that it would be okay for her to do that.
Emelia had decided that for now we’re going to commit to no less than once a year having a Daddy & Daughter Date going to see the London Knights game, and as you can well surmise, that is just fine by me. As much as this game was supposed to be about showing her a piece of who I am, it ended up like everything else, me loving my daughter that much more for who she is. And that outcome suits me just fine.
This week my focus was on a few things, first was to continue getting things in order for the cruise. This meant watching sales and finalizing the booking of our flights. I did manage to get our tickets one way via air miles so over the next few weeks I will keep checking the seat sales and hopefully very soon will have our flights booked home. With the terrible Canadian/US exchange rate we are doing everything we can to keep the costs down so we can really focus on what is important, the actual trip. So this has meant also looking and budgeting hotels for the night before. Our agent has quoted us one place but the price is far more than I am finding online so that will be my focus over the next couple weeks to get this all finalized.
The second thing on my to do list was keeping on top of Emelia’s latest and massive growth spurt. Clothes we bought at the beginning of the school year are already too short so I had to take the task of this week sitting down with her and going through her closet and dresser to see how much she still had that fit. She grew out of a ton and I have the fun task this week of going through 3 garbage bag of clothes from her closet as well as adding in clothes I went through in her summer clothing bin that we know for sure won’t fit this coming year. So what does this mean? It means that for her birthday present from mommy and daddy her choice of having her room updated to her bigger girl age it meant that we were clothing shopping instead.
Emelia is turning into my little sporty casual girl and her taste in clothing is reflecting that for sure, long gone are my girly dresses and in their place are leggings, yoga pants and hoodies. I miss my girly girl but she is really coming into her own and also for us the thankful part is that these clothes aren’t overly expensive. I really lucked out for sure with a huge sale at Old Navy and got her set up for the rest of the winter season for a decent price. She was great about taking new clothes as her birthday present from mommy and daddy and is excited to see the new clothes to arrive, hopefully in time for her party next week.
And speaking about the party the next big thing on my to do list was to get the details finalized for her birthday party next weekend. Like it or not our little girl turns 9 in 9 days. I have told her time and time again I am not allowing her to turn 9 but she seems to think that I do not have a choice. I do love seeing her grow into a young lady, she is still my little girl loving her dolls, crafting and make believe but I can see my little girl changing and growing. But as I have told her, no matter how old she gets she is forever my baby, and thankfully my snuggly girl will always give her mama a hug and a kiss when I ask, so with each of those I hold on to my little girl just a bi tighter because you never know when she wont give them out so easily.
Back to her party, this week I was able to finalize the number of girls attending and thankfully everyone we invited has been able to attend so Emelia will be partying her little butt off next week with 6 of her girl friends. This year I opted to have a party outside the house and I just forget every time how much easier this makes life. Most years I try and have the party here but it is always so much work, and after having a house full of toddlers all week I am grateful that other than bringing the cake and loot bags I have to do nothing for this party. I have been in contact with the party planner at the climbing club and it seems that everything is in great order.
This week Emelia and I finalized which cake she and I are going to make, I am not a baker at all so we wanted something simple and hopefully relatelvy idiot proof. I found a kit kat wrapped cake that was covered with candy, see even I can’t screw that up! With that decided we moved to loot bags. I will admit it, I loathe loot bags, they are typically filled with dollar store crap and cost a fortune to do. Every year we try and fill them with not crap and they cost so much do to them right so they aren’t dollar store junk. This year we opted for a gift vs a bag of trinkets. Emelia and her friends are all into the latest craze of Shopkins. The girls all love to collect and exchange them with their friends. So thankfully with a coupon in hand I was able to get each of the girls a small shopkins kit and then Emelia and I went to bulk barn and found a few yummy candy treats for the girls. So we did the bags for less than I have ever done them and the most important thing is that they are done!
What does this mean for next weeks birthday party? It means that I feel we can actually go and relax and really enjoy the moment with Emelia. I just have to make the cake next Saturday and we can decorate it Sunday morning, we have the party in the morning and then spend the rest of the day as a family and celebrating all that makes us a family – the three of us!