I had the joy of going ice skating with my eight year old niece this afternoon. By ice skating with, I actually mean skating next to my niece while she clung to my arm and shuffled her feet. We were there about an hour and a half and I'm guessing the total number of loops we made on the ice where she was not touching me to be point-six. After about a half hour she spotted a friend with whom we did another couple of rounds, the most successful being when she held one hand with her friend and the other hand with me. And finally after a bit of whispering between them, I got the boot: she wanted to skate alone with her friend.
I adore my niece. She is my secret favorite of all of them. I'd do anything for her. So of course I said no problem, then skated off freely on my own, gliding across the ice while keeping a distant eye on the girls from across the rink. I didn't mind getting the boot; she seemed really happy to run into her friend there. And seeing my niece's face light up when I rejoined her to shuffle her off the ice at the end made me know she loves me for more than just my arm.