We bundled the kids up in their winter jackets and snow suits, and headed out in the moonlight.
"Where we going mama?" Matthew asked as I buckled him into his car seat.
"To the zoo sweetie! To see some special lights."
Never mind that it was minus ten degrees and already past their bedtime. This is Calgary. This is what we do here.
The zoo was flooded with coloured lights shaped like monkeys dangling from trees, lions, dinosaurs, pink flamingos. Strings of green and white wrapped around trees, twinkling magically. The colours bounced off the snowy ground, spreading shades of blue and yellow and pink everywhere.
We shuffled along with crowds of people shivering and red-nosed. On the lookout for hot chocolate, too cold to stop and queue.
I cuddled Oliver close, imagining what impression an exhibit like this might have had on me as a child.
Matthew darted ahead of us from one place to the next, captivated by the lights, pointing out each animal, examining the shapes and colours.
Then back in the car he sobbed. "Mama my hands! Cold!" Because he'd refused to wear his gloves the entire time. But all was miraculously forgotten when a lollipop was handed to him. Now that's magic.