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No Going Back Now

Brian received a bittersweet gift on Father’s Day.

started walking.

She began cruising – walking around holding on
to furniture or people – since she was 8 ½ months old. And at the end
of May she began taking tentative steps on her own – two or three at a
time – and standing without holding on to anything. We counted that as
her first step, but not as walking. See, she’d only walk unassisted if
she didn’t realize she was doing it; it was more of a cutting-corners
sort of thing than a deliberate attempt to get somewhere unaided.

though, she kicked it into high gear.

We were at church, and Madeleine became restless towards the end of the
sermon. I took her to the back of the church where she could walk
around quietly and I could hear the rest of Milind’s sermon. She
happily paced back and forth, clutching my finger as I walked beside
her. The sermon ended, and the congregation bowed their heads for
prayer time. Just then, Maddie spotted her friend Danny and had to get
there faster than Mummy was going. So she deliberately let go and
walked over to him: a good ten feet or so. Halfway there she lost
interest, instituted a turn, and wandered towards the organ. I stared,

Of course, the entire congregation missed this
momentous occasion, since they were engaged in solemn prayer. I looked
around, and NO ONE had witnessed this amazing event. I wanted to shout,
“Hey! Look over here! Look what my kid’s doing! Look at this!” but of
course did not. Everyone simply had to take my word for it.

for my reputation, she repeated the maneuver later in the day. One
moment, she was quietly playing with her push-car in the dining room;
Kitty walked by and suddenly she was off on the chase. No time to feel
her way around the furniture – best to make a beeline for Kitty. Brian
and my mom stared, openmouthed, while I smiled smugly from the kitchen.

know. I’ve seen it.”

This new mode of transportation
is going to give me a run for my money; I’ve got how long it takes her
to get from one place to another, potentially dangerous spot calculated
to the nth degree, and suddenly she’s cutting my response window in half
as she travels in straight lines rather than circumvention. Her ability
to stand in open space and not hold on is impressive, but brings every
sharp edge of furniture to the forefront of our minds: we know we need
to let her fall, but not around the piano bench!

Since Sunday
she’s been more and more confident; she’ll stop mid-walk, swing her arms
to catch her balance, and continue on. Occasionally she’ll get down and
crawl to get there faster, and the majority of the time she still holds
on to a table or an available leg to get her where she wants to go.

to see her make the decision to let go, to step forward on her own and
risk falling down, is an awesome thing.

You know the part that
sucks, though? She never looks back.

I know, I know, I look back
enough for the both of us. 


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