Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Ultimate Daddy-Daughter Date

My saintly father has six children, the first five of which are girls. For many years he has lived in a female-centric home and has had his own special way of bonding with each of us. For me, I used to love it when both he and I would be excused from cleaning the kitchen after supper to do some sort of fix-it job around the house. Fixing the broken washing machine? Sounds like a job for Super-Dad with his trusty assistant, Little Neen. The highlight of my Saturdays as a little girl was getting to go on errands with Daddy to the now-defunct Beaver Lumber that used to be in the parking lot of Market Mall to pick up nails and screws. I remember being in kindergarten and walking over to my Daddy's office at the Market Mall Professional building a few blocks away from our house to take him his lunch—what's even more surprising was that I seem to remember doing it once or twice on my own . . . either Mum really trusted the traffic on 40th avenue or my memory isn't what it should be.

The best, though, were Daddy-daughter dates. These were the special occasions when Daddy and one of his daughters would have a special outing, just the two of them. This outing might consist of ice cream at Lic's, a canoe ride at Bowness Park, or once when I was really lucky, dinner and a movie. It was always fun to have special time with Daddy.

The few days when Mum and Daddy picked me up from Finland felt like a long Daddy-daughter date, as Mum's health at the time kept her resting in the hotel a fair portion of most days. Daddy and I went for a run down Neitsytpolku to the ocean, went grocery shopping in Espoo for all the Finnish delights I wanted to bring home, and visited a street market in Leppävaara. We explored the tunnels of the old fortress at Suomenlinna and met some of my friends for strawberries at the harbour market. I loved sharing a part of my mission with my Dad—he truly understood how much that place meant to me and how hard it was to leave.

Last weekend, however, was the best Daddy-daughter date of them all. Daddy had lift tickets for the resort at Revelstoke, home to some of the best powder in existence. Originally, the plan was for him, Peter, and me to go, but when Peter bailed at the last minute, the trip became a Daddy-daughter date—the last one before I get married in three weeks.

Over those two days of skiing, we discovered powder up to our knees on almost every run. It was like skiing in a marshmallow. The whole time, we kept shouting to each other that the snow was unbelievable, that this was paradise. We found heavenly little chutes filled with powder and trees spaced just right. When I found myself on a section that seemed to steep for me, Dad coached me through the turn. Even when we got separated on our last run of the day and both lost skis on a 50 degree incline and were lost for over 25 minutes, we had the most incredible time. Well, I was worried to death that he had fallen headfirst into a tree well and he had the ski patrol searching for me, but that's another story—it was all part of the adventure that made this weekend the best Daddy-daughter date ever.

But the one thing that made this ski weekend the best ever wasn't the snow or the perfect hill. It was being there with my Daddy, one last time for us to have an adventure with him while I'm still all his, still his little girl.