|Emi flies high at West Vancouver playground.|
|One ride is never enough.|
|Surprise, delight on unusual rolling-bar slide.|
|At the end of the day, enough.|
I imagined Aya, an astute and enthusiastic shopper, arriving with bags of delicious crinkling tissue paper hiding a multitude of treasures. It didn't quite go that way. There was no shopping trip, no shopping bags, just an armful of Emi and some picnic supplies.
Plans had changed, as they do for working parents with toddlers. Instead of hunting down treasures in the mall, Aya watched as 20-month-old Emi explored the delights of John Lawson Park on a beautiful sunny day. There were swaths of green lawn to run over, other picnickers to study, and a rocky seashore with shells and logs to explore.
Then there was the upscale, beautifully designed playground that only West Vancouver could afford, with a magical ship's hull to climb up and slide down, a crooked fantasy "cottage," a slide made of rolling wooden bars, and best of all -- swings! The two side-by-side swings were the hit of the afternoon; forget the fancy ship with its mast and fake seagulls overhead. After one devoted parent had tired of pushing her in one swing, Emi was happy to transfer to the adjacent one, certain that a new swing meant the fun started all over again.
By the end of the afternoon, everyone was tired. Etienne's car passed ours on the way home, and we could see that he was alone in the front seat. In the back were Aya and Emi. Aya, the birthday girl, appeared to be fast asleep.