This week I get to say something I’ve wanted to say for a long time.
My son can walk.
I rang my husband and said “He walked!” I rang my mother to say “My little boy is walking”, I’ve told people in the school yard, at the supermarket, via email, text and Twitter. Anyone who stands still long enough will hear me say that my son can walk.
Some of them look at me like I’m a little mad; he’s not the only child in the world to start walking late after all. Those closest to us know though, that it hasn’t been all that simple for him and how close we came to missing the window of opportunity that allowed him to get the right treatment and most importantly – get it in time.
I was so proud of him when he walked, I cried and couldn’t stop. I confused our daughter who thought something was wrong. It’s difficult to explain happy crying to a five year old. She really didn’t see what the big deal was, as she said, we did tell her last year he would eventually catch up. But she did let him use his new ability to steal a pancake off her plate.
She has been a by the book child from the beginning. Good pregnancy, even a good labour and birth, well relatively speaking. There were no problems health wise, she has grown at the right rate, and has always been healthy, balanced and well. We’re so lucky.
Our son was different, I struggled through a difficult pregnancy and his birth was traumatic. It was then that the problems really started. He didn’t have one major problem; there were a number of little ones. Together though, they caused us a lot of sleepless nights and heartache.
He has got over each thing one at a time, but the final and longest hurdle has been walking. Emotionally for his Dad and me, that’s been the toughest. When he went out in the world to play with kids his own age, the crushing realisation of just how difficult it could be for him was a bitter pill to swallow.
That was when I realised that I didn’t want my little boy to be perfect, successful or blow everyone else away at all.
I just wanted him to be normal.
It wasn’t just that I wanted his legs and feet to grow or his hips to correct themselves. What I wanted most was for him to be able to do things like join in games at his play group without being trod on. That said, I don’t doubt for one second that he thoroughly enjoyed the special attention he got from all the little nurturing girls. Even after he picked them off one by one with plastic balls while they were playing statues.
There are countless parents out there dealing with the daily struggles of their children who aren't by the book kids. They are amazing people those parents. Ordinary everyday selfless people and I’m proud to know some of them. Why some children have it so much tougher than others I will never understand, but I do understand one very important thing. Being different doesn’t make one child lesser than another.
There he goes; walking to the kitchen dresser looking for treasures he’s certain exist in those high drawers. That’s my boy.