|Emi turns two on Aug. 25. She celebrates early with two of her favourite things -- being held upside down by her dad Etienne, and being fed chocolate by her mom Aya.|
In the hospital room, Etienne and Aya were tired and pleased, but a bit tentative too. Emi was fine, perfect, with her shock of black hair -- but what were they to do with a creature so helpless and unknown?
Two years along, after the maternity leave, the breastfeeding, the introduction to day care, the plane trips to relatives, the teething, the potty training, the toy kitchen, the start of swimming lessons, Emi's parents are no longer tentative. Aya is calm and confident, treating her daughter with gentle respect, but also serving as the family horse, taking her for rides on her back. Etienne has discovered he can take care of Emi on his own, thanks to a trip back east. And he flings his daughter around like a gymnast -- upside down, over his head, down his back. They both love it.
John and I are still strangers to Emi; the intervals between our visits makes us newbies each time she sees us. And we're still tentative ourselves, lacking her parents' daily immersion in the reality of child-raising. But when we got together for a picnic on the weekend, it was amazing to reflect on how the tiny creature we first met two years ago had blossomed into a strong, lively little person with a mind of her own (she's learning to say "no"). And we're still touched at her parents reaching out and including us in the ongoing miracle that is Emi growing up.
|Etienne and Aya spread the picnic blankets at Crab Park in Vancouver on Saturday. The park is within walking distance of their home and has become a favourite hangout this summer.|
|Emi helps with the picnic setup by staying occupied with her deflated ball.|
|Aya gets Emi ready to play in the water feature in the park, just behind the picnic setup.|
|Etienne and Emi have a moment while Aya deals with the picnic dishes.|
|Whipped cream and chocolate cake with strawberries are a good way to celebrate turning two.|
|Emi is captivated by a glass bowl while Etienne has other things on his mind.|
|At the end of a busy day, a snooze in the stroller while heading home from the park.|