Christopher has been talking for ages about taking the kids to the Tweed Stampede rodeo. It was funny to me because Christopher is not a country boy. He was raised in Acton, the son of a grocer. Acton is not a big booming metropolis, but compared to Tweed it is (they have a McDonalds). The longer he has lived in Tweed, the more the country has leached into his soul (I think that's what the country does to you, it grabs a hold of you and won't let go). When he wants to buy a big truck then I know that his country metamorphosis is complete.
Grace and Riley were really excited to go with their Dad to the rodeo. Gracie loves horses, and after watching Heartland, now Riley loves horses and wants to learn to ride. Rowan did not want to go. Rowan is our little homebody, it has to be pretty special to lure him out of the house. In the end Christopher lured him with the promise of funnel cakes and deep fried Mars Bars (the art of persuasion lies in Rowan's stomach, much like his father). God bless him for trying, but Christopher might regret that bribe. I pulled Rowan aside, "Buddy I think that the rodeo will be really fun, but I don't think that you should go for just a funnel cake and a deep fried Mars Bar." His bright brown eyes met mine, "Mom it's hard to find funnel cakes and deep fried Mars Bars, this might be my only chance." "I still don't think that's a good enough reason to go Buddy. I think that you will have fun at the rodeo, but you can't be a poop head and ruin it for the girls if you don't like it." His expression never changed "I won't" and off he went. I kissed them all good bye and prepared to spend the day with Elly.
Elly and I had a great day together. It was a real treat to have that one on one with her. I asked her what she wanted to do today, she wanted to go to Tim Hortons and she wanted to do a craft, doable. She brought her little doll stroller down, with Suzy Wooden and Sally balanced under her arm. Carefully she placed them into the stroller, and we walked up to Tim Hortons. I ordered a medium double double and Elly ordered an iced lemonade and a sprinkle doughnut. She thought maybe she might enjoy an Iced Cap, and thought I had rocks in my heads when I told her that she was too little for an Iced Cap. "But I'm a Mom" she looked at me her little face all screwed up. "I think that we will just stick to lemonade". We also ordered a jelly filled Timbit for Sally and a Chocolate Timbit for Suzy Wooden, because apparently Suzy Wooden is allergic to the jelly, oh and lemonade. We sat in the restaurant to eat our treat. Elly lovingly took Sally and a naked Suzy Wooden out of their stroller and sat them on the table. For each bite of her doughnut she would take the Timbits and hold them up to her dolls mouths and make eating noises. I could have just eaten Elly alive right there she was so precious. She and I had a wonderful simple day together.
Around 5:30 or 6:00 Christopher and his crew pulled into the driveway. They barreled excitedly into the house each wanting to be the first to tell about their day. Each of them was excitedly talking over the other. They were flushed with excitement. The girls kept talking about the trick riding and the free turkey burgers. Rowan was really excited about the free turkey burgers, and why I wouldn't make them turkey burgers because they are so good. Apparently there was no one there selling funnel cakes or deep fried Mars Bars, but the free turkey burgers seemed to have taken the sting out of it. Riley excitedly told me that she got to sit up on one of the horses from the show, and that the girls that did the riding were so nice. Gracie butt in with "One of them was my age MOM". I am pretty sure that Riley now wants to be a trick rider, God help me. Christopher was also excited about the free turkey burgers (although he played it cooler than the kids did), and he was really excited about some guy that was there who would smoke your Thanksgiving turkey and even deliver it!
They all had a hundred stories each about their day. That night at dinner when we went around the kitchen table and did "Best and Worst" both Riley and Grace both said that they could not pick just one best, there was no just one favourite thing. Rowan of course said his best was the free turkey burgers!
That night as we lay in bed, the kids all tucked in Christopher and I recapped our day (we usually do this before I begin to read and he begins to
snore drift off to sleep. "Casey did a really great job!" Christopher told me. "They are the only rodeo that has a kids zone. Our guys really liked it. I hope that you can come next year, it just wasn't the same without you." I did wish that I had been able to go, but at the same time being separate allowed us to really "be" with the kids in a way that we cannot when we are out as a family. When we do things as a family we treat the kids like a group, because well they are. When we separate them up, they become individuals. The big kids got to spend quality time with their Dad, just Dad. They will for the rest of their lives remember that day. I got to really spend time with Elly. There was nothing that I "had to do", I could give her my absolute and complete attention, something that I am not able to do often enough. I don't know what we will do next year. I don't know yet if we will go as a family, or if I will let this be Daddy's thing. What I know is that my kids loved it!