I opened the van door and Adelaide shouted, “WALK! READY!” I removed her from the car seat and assumed our normal position: me in front, walking backwards, holding onto both of her hands. “NO!” She wouldn’t hold my hands, she kept letting go of one. She wanted me next to her.
We had tried it earlier in November. She had taken a few steps, crunching the leaves, and then collapsed. I could tell she just wasn’t ready for it, but she had laughed all the way through our trial run.
But on the last Tuesday in November, she was ready to walk hand in hand. Twelve blissful steps.
Just days before her 5th birthday, Adelaide and I walked the way I had imagined we would at her 1-year-old birthday photo session. I waited 4 years for those precious seconds with my girl. It was a dream come true.
But she didn’t stay there for long. “WALK! WALK!” I carried her back to the van, got behind her, planted her feet on the sidewalk, and placed my hands under her armpits. I could tell she was exhausted, but wanted to walk into the house.
She took more than 100 supported steps, then walked up our porch’s three stairs. She kept going, as we walked over the threshold. She shouted, “WALK! WALK!” as we made our way to the carpet. Then she collapsed onto the carpet laughing and clapping. So proud of herself.
Still not sure how these years have simultaneously felt like one fleeting hour and an eon. It’s the paradox of parenting.