Special Day with Emma Rose

The very first Special Day was probably 9 or 10 years ago. My oldest nephew, Jacob, was 4 or 5, and I decided to take him out for a day—just the two of us, doing whatever he wanted. I don’t actually remember what we did on that first Special Day, but over the years we’ve gone to movies, to the Newport Aquarium, to Kentucky Horse Park. And as Jacob’s sister and brother and cousin got older, they got to go on their own Special Days, one for their birthday and sometimes one for Christmas, too. The only criteria: the kid has be able to handle him/herself in the bathroom. And they had to pick someplace to eat other than McDonald’s.

When it’s my niece Emma’s Special Day, I can usually count on something girly or crafty being on our agenda. Back in 2007, our Special Day was a trip to Disney Princesses on Ice. And how can one not get dressed up for an afternoon at Disney Princesses on Ice?

My husband, merely my boyfriend at the time, was our chauffeur. Emma and I sat in the back of the car as he drove us, drinking sparkling cider and feeling very fancy.

As she has gotten older, our Special Days have included sleepovers and bigger projects. In 2010, Emma and I took on our first sewing project together: a stuffed owl.

This past weekend, Emma and I celebrated her upcoming 11th birthday with a Special Day sleepover with a new agenda: prepare and serve a lunch for her family to earn points for a Girl Scout badge. On the menu: apple lettuce salad, spaghetti and meatballs and peppermint fudge—all made from scratch.

After I picked Emma up, we went to my house to look through recipe books, then we made up our list of ingredients and headed to the grocery store. We decided to make the fudge that night, so we wouldn’t need to worry about it the next day. Emma’s latest favorite color is blue, and she made the peppermint stripe in the fudge the prettiest shade of blue using food coloring.

The next morning, we dove into making the meal. Emma has been a great help to her mom in the kitchen, so she was already a very good chopper.

We rolled the meatballs (a task I doubt either of us will be doing again soon), made the sauce, assembled the salad, and somewhere in there had time to create a scavenger hunt for her family (the goal: finding the seating chart) and get in a little coloring, too.

It was a great, creative weekend—creative in the cooking sense, which I hadn’t been in a while—with a pretty awesome girl.

Leave a comment


  1. Lynn

     /  October 3, 2012

    I wish I could do this with all of my nieces and nephews, but since they are all in Ohio and I am here in Chicago it is just too hard. You are an awesome Aunt! I wish I could have tasted the fudge…Mmm.

    • Lynn, I wish I could do this more with my Wisconsin niece and nephew, too. The distance does make a difference. But the fudge was delicious!

  2. Gina Rath

     /  October 11, 2012

    Wow, what an awesome young lady Emma is becoming! I’m sure it has a lot to do with the genes. I bet her family absolutely loved the meal.

    I still remember (and recently told Ella) the story of one of your first special days you had with Jacob at the playground on the Serpentine Wall. You said that you learned to never let a child slide down a slide sitting on a nylon jacket!

    The memories you’re creating with the kids are so precious; they are so very lucky.

    • Christine Doyle

       /  October 11, 2012

      Oh my gosh, Gina! Thank you for reminding me of that one! We’d gone down the slide together—on the jacket—and it took everything I had not to crush the poor kid when we went flying off the end of the slide. Good times, indeed.


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