As we sat at the dinner table last night celebrating our dear friend Claudie’s birthday, I saw Emma ride up to Nic on her scooter and stand in front of him as he sat on the couch listening to music on his iPod.
“Hey Nic!” she said.
It was very unusual for Emma to go up to Nic and speak to him so directly so I nudged Ariane who was sitting next to me, and pointed in their direction.
“Hey Nic!” Emma repeated. “Will you come to mommy’s room with me and watch Elmo?”
We were absolutely floored. Ecstatic. Choking up with emotion. Not only was this one of the longest and most articulate sentences Emma has ever spoken, it was also directed at Nic, asking him to do something together with her.
For any parent of two normal children, this would be something you take totally for granted — something you would have witnessed twenty million times by the time your children were 10 and 8 years old. For us it was first, a true milestone, as significant as when Nic and Emma took their first steps or spoke their first words. More than that, it was something we had hoped and prayed would happen for such a very long time. Something we feared might never happen.
It was a miracle.
We looked at our guests with our mouths hanging open in shock and wonder, then began hugging and kissing each other in joy and gratitude. It was such a special moment, made even more special by the great good fortune of being able to share that wondrous milestone with such special friends. Claudie said it was the best birthday present she ever had. Elaine knew exactly what we were feeling and how significant it was, having experienced parental challenges so much more arduous and painful than anything we have weathered.
I went with Emma and Nic into our bedroom and helped her put the Elmo DVD on, then spied on them from around the corner, my ears perked up for any more dialog that might be forthcoming. They just sat together silently, watching Elmo, Nic barely able to tolerate it, but being such a great sport, Emma looking so happy in his company.
Eyes were teary as we put the candles on Claudie’s cake, then called for Nic and Emma to join us. Emma came running in like a freight train, since two of her favorite activities in the world are singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles. True to form, Emma led the chorus, singing as loudly and cheerfully as always. When the song finished, Claudie started to blow out the candles but Emma leaned across the table and blew out most of them first.
“Emma, those are Claudie’s candles,” Ariane admonished, then asked Claudie if she wanted us to re-light them.
“No,” Claudie said, “I already made my wish.”
And we had one of ours granted.