I am constantly amazed by life’s little surprises. After what seemed liked an eternity of slow, agonizing, and honestly a bit disheartening past weeks, I have finally seen the light at the end of this dark tunnel. Yes indeed, we have traveled through Depression Tunnel and have arrived at Milestone City.
It started last Saturday when Anna rode her bike without training wheels. An accomplishment that seems even more amazing since she wanted to do it “herself” and was not at all interested in help. She was mentally prepared when she walked up that small hill and BAM… Anna was off and riding away from me. She was ready and there’s no stopping her now.
Monday was the first day of kindergarten, a milestone in itself. As we walked to school that cold and rainy morning, she told me she was nervous but really excited and I confided I felt the same way. The first day was only an hour orientation; the real test was the following morning. We biked to school and as she stood on that yellow line outside with her classmates she looked a little worried. Yet she so easily let go when the teacher arrived. After school, she told me she had a great time and announced without my asking that she didn’t miss me at all. She has already mentioned several ‘school friends’ and she even had a boy from class kiss her on the cheek. All this from a child who for two years couldn’t and wouldn’t leave my sight; a creative and reserved child who had a slew of imaginary friends, but would only talk to one other girl her age. I’m thrilled for her (um, except for the boy part). She was ready and there’s no stopping her now.
There is one more attraction in Milestone City. And it is a gigantic monument.
For the last two months or so Gia has been testing the waters: standing for longer periods, walking longer in her walker, a small step here and there. But it wasn’t really until Tuesday afternoon that she revealed her colossal triumph. The afternoon after Anna had her first kiss from an older boy, Gia took her first steps. It happened so fast and was so unexpected that at first I didn’t even realize she had walked. I was too stunned; my brain could not seem to process this breathtaking information. Thankfully, a therapist was with us and she had the presence of mind to quickly turn her around and let her walk again. Gia walked five more times, each time at least five steps. One time she took eight.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It definitely is. Gia is almost 27 months old. Medical professionals could never tell us with any certainly that she would ever walk. And here is she is, feeding tube-free and attempting independent walking. It is also not lost on me that like her big sister’s independence this week, those first small steps were away from me. Just as it should be. She was ready and there’s no stopping her now.
When we journey through Depression Tunnel I take this Chinese proverb to heart: “To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” I will keep on stepping with my family, slow as it may seem sometimes. But I will always welcome and appreciate even the quickest stay in Milestone City. It’s just the type of place that helps put a spring, even a little dance, in my own steps forward.
We are ready, and there’s no stopping us now.