I am missing my weekly dog walker, Bambi. Yes, that is her real name.
On Wednesday mornings, she showed up at my door to take Lucy out of the house, away from my nephew, who visited me once a week before he was big enough to go to school.
Henry could tolerate a puppy. In time they became fast friends.
But Lucy needed a break from her daily chores of lolling on cushions and posing for pictures so out the door she streaked to greet her posse.
Bambi is moving across the country. I am sad as Lucy loves her and so do we.
My new Wednesday charge has good legs and can handle a brisk walk. She won’t wear her mittens but wet snow on cold fingers will teach her better than I can.
Charlotte is too young to learn about making lemonades from lemons but knows how to grind the coffee beans for Auntie Anne’s coffee.
But this morning, the coffee would wait.
What can we see on a morning walk? What can we find? Will Lucy finally catch her first squirrel? How are the trees dressed for winter? Will our feet crunch in the snow? Will Lucy spot the neighbour’s cat? How high can we kick the snow with our boots? What colour is the sky today? How many dogs will we see? Will we find a fat snowman? Or maybe, hilariously, find one with boobs that resembles Auntie Anne? Can we run in the snow down the ravine? Will the snow stay on the branches? How come the snow is all sparkly? Will that rumbly feeling in my tummy go away when I have hot chocolate*?
“Will there be marshmallows?”
I loved being an aunt before I had kids.
My nieces and nephew got all my freebies from my days as a TV producer and helped prepare me for motherhood. Impossibly adorable kids made for easy lessons.
I loved being an aunt while I was a mom too.
Those long days and short years were spent chuckling together with my kids and their cousins, as they rolled, one giant amoeba, from room to room at family gatherings, and in all of our backyards, tearing naked through sprinklers, performing mind numbing skits, sharing tents lakeside.
Now I am an aunt once more, my own kids almost grown.
This too is delicious as I get to eat snowflakes for breakfast.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- teensy pinch of salt
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken up
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Heat milk and cream together. Add everything else. Whisk.
Add more chocolate if need be. Or a little cocoa powder if you need a bigger chocolate hit.
Or peppermint schnapps (for the aunts, not the kids).
Or cinnamon, orange zest, or, if you want to pretend Vienna** is in your mug, whipped cream.
Wait a few minutes to cool for little one’s lips.