Over a year has passed since the fateful day when Elissa inadvertently broke my heart in the school yard. As I leaned in for my customary kiss before sending my then-seven-year-old daughter to the door one morning, she suddenly pulled back.
“Um…Mom? Just a hug, OK? Bye!” And with that, she quickly turned up the path and went through the gate in the chain-link fence – without so much as a backward glance.
Ouch…that hurt. Outwardly, I teased her about her sudden aversion to our Public Displays of Affection (PDAs), but quietly I was crushed. As a parent, I knew that ‘the shunning’ would come one day, but she was just seven years old! Still, I respected her feelings and pulled back with the PDAs in the school yard from then on. Even hand-holding became a bit of a toss-up after that day; sometimes it was cool, other times not so much.
Knowing this, then, you could imagine the quiet thrill I had last weekend when Elissa reached out for my hand – and didn’t let go for well over an hour – albeit in an effort to keep from falling down while we were skating. But heck – I’ll take what I can get!
Elissa and I had a rare and lovely mommy/daughter day skating on the Rideau Canal, one of the key attractions at Ottawa’s annual Winterlude festival. While both of our daughters have taken some skating lessons already, they have yet to master the art of gliding on the ice; my husband likes to refer to them as ‘Little Frankensteins’ when they’re on skates (some knee-bending would certainly help!).
While the frozen canal stretches for nearly eight kilometres – making it the world’s largest skating rink – Elissa and I contained our fun to the one-kilometre loop around Dow’s Lake. Conveniently – and possibly not without some scheming on my part – our route was located very close to a Beavertails stand.
In case you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a Beavertail, it is a large, flat pastry that is available with a choice of toppings (I highly recommend the ‘Killaloe Sunrise’ which consists of cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice). In the humble opinion of yours truly, they are freaking delicious and a must-have during your Winterlude experience in Ottawa. (And if you skate the full length of the canal – thrice at top speed – you just *might* burn off the calories…okay, probably not.)
Back at home that night, Elissa reverted back into being my snuggly little girl – just like she does every day at bedtime. In fact, she gets pretty upset if she doesn’t get what she deems to be adequate “snuggle time” before bed. I knew that the next morning she would pull away – conscious of the watchful eyes of her friends in the school yard – but I could live with that.
The way I figure it, I can always take her skating again next weekend.