I’m not sure we could have fit anything else into the shortest month of the year. Odysseo by Cavalia, Miss Q’s 10th birthday, my youngest brother’s wedding, dog sitting, an evil illness that took down 3/5 of our family, sports, school, writing, work, Family Day, 100 Day and Valentine’s Day: what a life!
Horsey, Horsey On Your Way
When we were gifted tickets to Cavalia at Christmas, we should have looked at them closer, and been more thankful.
The night before we were due to attend the show, my husband and I realized we were in possession of five VIP tickets. This meant that not only were we seated front row centre for the show, we were fed dinner with drinks before it started, came back for dessert and coffee during intermission, and then toured the stables after.
Watching the girls with their VIP lanyards hanging around their necks, marveling at the stunts riders, horses and acrobats were performing was enough for this mum.
Add in the fact this equestrian show is performed entirely in Italian and Susu (a language from West Africa) and no one questioned what was happening, is a true testament to the power of the production.
Sure, there were moments of the show where I may have cut down on the singing and humans swinging above our heads, and it was annoying watching adults blatantly ignore the announcer asking us not to touch or feed the famous geldings. But we stumbled back to our hotel at midnight, brains and bellies full, feeling like our trip could end right then and there and we’d still be content.
A Birthday For Miss Q
It snowed on Miss Q’s 10th birthday. Like really snowed. It never snows on the west coast, let alone unleashes a snowstorm in February. But there we were, waking on the fourth floor of Richmond’s Pacific Gateway Hotel, to snow.
It’s a mushy moment to realize your child is never again going to be in the single digits, mushier still, when you stop to reflect on the last ten years of your lives.
The montage of parent and tot programs, first days, tooth fairy visits, lazy movie afternoons, ruckus water fights and everything in between create misty water coloured memories of the way we were. Thanks, Babs.
A decade has never moved so slowly, or so quickly. Been so full of tears, newness and wonderment. Or has stretched both my body and mind past its outer limits. But here is my oldest: 10.
For Miss Q’s party, which we held the week before her actual birthday, we played archery at a local recreation centre. Even though she told us her friends weren’t sporty, all twelve girls, Miss Q, and Miss S included, declared they wanted to join an archery class after the party ended.
I hope they find something, because the alternative, i.e. the current occupation of some of these budding tweens is both mystifying and horrifying.
In conversations heard around the pizza table, the girls laughed about unmonitored computer chats that started with the moon and end with the sun and older siblings who were paying off the younger siblings with hush candy.
Is it too late to rewind the clock to when Miss Q was five? Please tell me this isn’t the life of tween girls. If so, consider this mum’s game upped for the next decade.
For her actual birthday, Miss Q wanted to go to IHop (we don’t have one on the island) and the Vancouver Aquarium. So through the snow we drove, hoping our all weather tires would live up to their name.
It cost our family of five $138 to visit the aquarium.
There are no whales, no penguins, no seals, just a lonely false killer whale, a sea lion, otters and a penguin that came out of a pet carrier for a fifteen-minute show.
The sarcastic side of me thinks the admission fee should reflect the lack of flashy mammals, but if you aren’t a regular visitor to the ocean, coupled with the fact it’s a research and rehab facility, I’ll consider it a donation. After all, when else can you touch a variety of rays without meeting the same fate as The Crocodile Hunter?
The girls loved their time there. When Miss S rounded the corner in the Amazon exhibit to see a cage full of monkeys, I think her head almost exploded. I am so going to lose my middle child to the jungle after high school.
Miss Q’s friend party was called a ‘high five’ party: five dollars for Miss Q and five dollars for an animal. After a lot of debate – she wants to save every animal – Miss Q decided to rescue an otter at the aquarium.
Even though I wanted to buy her the entire aquarium gift shop, all she wanted was the stuffed otter that came with the adoption package. Apparently ten is when she becomes more mature than her dear old mum.
We dashed from the aquarium through the snow to my brother’s wedding rehearsal where Miss Q was a junior bridesmaid, and Miss C and Miss S, along with their cousin, Miss O were flower girls. They all took their roles very seriously and on the day of the wedding, their outward beauty matched their everyday radiance.
We ended Miss Q’s birthday by driving around Richmond in the snowstorm, looking for a place to have cake. Finding nothing, we bought chocolate bars and ordered cake from the hotel to eat in our room.
Wedding Bells Are Ringing
The next morning we woke to more snow. Taxis were running an hour late, and the running family joke was our Ontario and New Brunswick relatives had brought the snow with them.
The girls and I left my husband to have a leisurely breakfast, and headed out by taxi to my about to be new sister-in-law’s parents’ house.
It was so snowy that the taxi ended up reversing backwards down a long hill because he couldn’t make it up, and a tree branch fell, missing Miss O’s mum’s car by millimetres while it was parked in front of the house.
One of my favourite moments of the day was when the bride and her entourage walked to the limo. Giant snowflakes fell on the quiet street while the bride’s father stood on the snowy sidewalk, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt, playing ‘Here Comes The Bride’ on his bagpipes. As the last note floated into the silent snowglobe, the neighbours broke into cheers and applause.
There is still some debate in our house on whether Uncle G actually got married, as Miss S swears she didn’t see his and Aunt A’s lips physically touch when they kissed.
And Miss C, who didn’t want her uncle to get married at all, still wishes they’d followed through on their sisterly plot to place hollowed out eggs filled with sleeping powder, into their flower girl pails, and then chuck them at Uncle G, as they walked down the aisle. Once he was asleep, they would push him into the limo and send him away before his big moment.
Where oh where do they get their imaginations…
At 11:30pm the groomsmen entered the party, carrying boxes of McDonalds.
Our children have never eaten McDonalds. This is a fact that has amused, us, their parents, for a few years now. Of course, we weren’t naive to think they’d never taste it, so apparently, and oddly, Uncle G’s wedding was what broke the seal.
Who knew my husband and mother would work in tandem to
sneak walk plates of cheeseburgers and fries down to our waiting daughters. But after all the hype, it turns out the girls weren’t that impressed. Go figure.
Surprisingly, the one thing lacking of the evening are pictures. Turns out everyone in our immediate family chose to live in the moment, instead of seeing it through a lens. Perhaps this is what made it a great night: the stress of getting a perfect shot was lifted.
As the clock struck twelve, we hitched a ride back with relatives who had smartly secured a limo. Thank you, dear uncles!
I’d write, let’s do it again, but maybe that’s a phrase better spoken to a different brother.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel Let Down Your Tail
We ended the weekend by rescuing the bride and groom’s rotty-lab cross from her life on the sixteenth floor of their downtown apartment.
In Victoria, she learned balconies have stairs to grass, chewed on every stick she could find, and got upchucked on by Miss Q – welcome to the family, Lady B!
Now that her parents are back from their honeymoon, I’m sure she’s very happy to be back in a house where she’s the one and only child.
This past Friday, we celebrated the start of sunshine with a cookout on our balcony.
With Spring Break around the corner, this mum can’t wait to see what happens next!