Walking. It’s such a simple activity, something so many of us take for granted. A nice walk on a summer’s day, a gentle stroll along a beach, a hurried run up a flight of stairs.
The pace that we travel through the world is set by how we walk, changing as we age. Those first bumpy steps that mark a baby’s transition to toddlerhood. The slowed shuffle of an elderly person wandering down a supermarket aisle. That gentle placing of each foot in front of the other is an action we don’t even think about. We just do it.
Unless we can’t.
This time last year I had a non-toddling toddler. As my baby approached her second birthday she was the child sitting in the middle of the floor, watching helplessly as her peers ran and chased each other across the room. She withdrew, hiding behind frightened fingers, terrified she’d be trampled on or – worse – be left behind.
The hospital appointments notched up, the physiotherapy sessions increased and, eventually, we had an answer to the lack of walking. Hypermobility was to blame. A consultant calmly explained that our daughter’s joints were, quite simply, too bendy to hold her upright.
Her ankle ligaments were like pieces of chewing gum, stretching and stretching until, eventually, they hit something and stopped. In her case it was the floor, meaning her feet splayed outwards at 90 degree angles, with her ankle joint entirely on the floor. She was trying to balance on the surface area equivalent to the side of a pencil. Impossible.
When she started walking just before her second birthday, I cried. Watching her put one foot in front of the other all on her own melted me. The relief of her smile caught in my throat as I hugged my congratulations and whispered how proud she made me.
From that moment, her legs have strengthened and we went from doddery walking to running, climbing to jumping. She walks on clouds now, her toes barely touching the ground as she races from one game to the next.
We walked our neighbour’s dog at the weekend. I took the buggy, just in case. But as we approached the muddy canal path, Frog asked to get out. “I chase Boots?” she shouted.
This time last year she wasn’t walking.
Now look at her.
This post was written towards this week’s Gallery at Sticky Fingers, where the theme is Walks.
And on another note, nominations are now open for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. If you wanted to chuck a nod my way for the Writer or Family category, I would be eternally grateful.