(Originally posted on Mar. 18, 2009, about three months before Emma's diagnosis)
It was a beautiful day here yesterday, so after supper, Emma and I walked to the park in our neighborhood. Emma made a beeline for the slide, and as she haltingly climbed the steps, a smiling face appeared beside her.
"Hi!" chirped the little girl, who looked to be a few years older than Em. "Hi! Do you want to play with me? Do you want to slide?"
Em being Em, she gave the newcomer a distracted smile and kept climbing. The girl looked to me, and I nodded. So as Em climbed, the girl darted ahead and bounced with excitement. She helped Em sit down, and the next thing I knew, they were both coming down the slide. Headfirst.
Emma was laughing; her smile was radiant. She and her new friend-- whose name I never got-- went down this slide a few times, and then the older girl's eyes went to the bigger slide. The twisting, curling slide, with 10 steps instead of 5.
"Emma, Emma! Do you want to go on the big slide?"
I bit my lip. "Well ... okay. We can try."
And so the older girl darted up the stairs, and Em painstakingly started to climb, with me right behind her. She neared the top-- after a mere 17 reminders to keep both hands on the rails-- and I congratulated her.
"Emma! You did it!"
Her new friend looked at me archly and reached out a hand to help Emma up. "Of course she did. She's a big girl."
Of course she did.