Here’s the story behind this video that I posted on FaceBook yesterday:
Aidan got this new piece of equipment on monday and he took to it like a fish to water. Aidan loves to move. He’s had several walkers before but they were cumbersome and he needed a lot of support to use them so they ended up collecting dust. Truth.
But Aidan can walk. He’s been able to walk ever since he spent a year on the treadmill putting one foot in front of the other when he was five. We even got to the point when Aidan could walk at a reasonable pace. It’s just that he’s always needed a hand to hold to do it.
So I’ve considered him a Walking Walker who Walks for quite some time. But yes, I posted this video yesterday because I wanted to celebrate and celebrations are more fun when others chime in. But I didn’t get emotional like people may have expected because we’ve been here before in some fashion and there’s part of me that expected him to be farther along. It’s hard to measure Aidan’s firsts because they come in such tiny increments. He’s walked before. He’s used a walker before. Just not this one and not this well.
This walker is different because it makes Aidan independent. Do you see how I’m not near him in the video? He is master of his destination. I’ll be able to sit on the couch again eating chocolate while Aidan makes messes and destroys things and I will be grateful.
So you helped me celebrate.
At the same time I was in a conversation with another new Medical Mom. She was relentless in her positive attitude about her child’s progress, which is necessary, but I wanted to give her room for more. I felt the need to address the little deaths on this journey. Here is what I said:
This is what I’m really feeling about the video I posted of Aidan. I’m very excited and he really has worked hard. At the same time I’m super frustrated because I feel like several years ago before his orthopedic surgeries he was walking faster. It was easier. So I’m both excited and frustrated.
I don’t regret Aidan’s hip and back surgeries as I strongly believe they were medically necessary. At the same time, his feet still turn inward, he hasn’t regained his strength or speed, and he isn’t clearing space or lifting his feet high enough. I considered walking one of his strengths and now I consider it one of the losses.
Grateful and frustrated. Both/And. This is the journey. The concept that it’s linear is false and unhelpful. The idea that it gets easier is oversimplistic. It’s sad and joyful and hard and celebratory.
Aidan has been a Walking Walker who Walks in one way or another for ten years now and I continue to be a Hoping Hope-er who Hopes and tells the truth that it’s all a bit complicated.