Julie Helen: Why my son learning to walk is extra special for me

Julie Helen's son reached another milestone recently... learning to walk. 
Julie Helen: Why my son learning to walk is extra special for me

A MAJOR MILESTONE: A child's first steps. Picture: Stock

I HAVE thought about what it would be like to write this column today many times. A milestone I have been looking forward to has happened. My little boy has learned to walk.

He can toddle around the place on his own two feet, give the odd wobble and land expertly on the cushion of his nappy. I am so proud of him I could burst. I am sure every parent is jubilant when their child starts to walk but I will be selfish and say it is extra special for me. Ricky is one, and he can already walk better than I ever could or ever will.

Even before he was born I used to think about what it would feel like when a child of mine took off on their own two feet. 

I always imagined I would burst into tears when he took his first steps. 

I felt it was beyond my frame of reference so it would feel a bit overwhelming. What actually happened felt very different, when he started to walk he was so delighted with himself it filled me with pride and the loveliest thing of all was that he kept coming back to me to clap his hands and show me what he could do. Watching him succeed and develop is such a joy.

I find it fascinating that even though I can’t walk well, my son wanted me to be part of the experience. It took me days to catch his steps on video because he was clever enough to know what I was trying to do and would immediately sit down the second I began to record. As he got more confident he then started showing off and almost performing for me. It was amazing how quickly he got comfortable with walking and I could just watch him walk and turn and bend and twist all day long. I know most kids are really nimble on their feet but to be able to watch it day by day is extremely fulfilling.

One of the key facets of being a parent for me is hoping for the best for my child and equipping him with the tools and skills to progress in life. 

I will lay my cards on the table and say that I was worried that when he walked, in a way he would be so far beyond me, I would lose some of my role as a parent. 

That was an irrational fear in many ways and of course I wanted with all my heart that he would take off like a bullet. The nice realisation is that as far as Ricky is concerned, I am Mom no matter what. He is used to my wheelchair, he is used to my body, he knows how I work better than most people do. He is my little boy and I am his mother. I’m sure when he is older we will have plenty of conversations about my disability and the impact it has on me.

Ricky walking has felt like I have been a bit of a ball bouncing about the place. On one hand it scared me before it happened but the reality was just lovely, it was another step along the road of our lovely journey together. I think it is important that I acknowledge when my disability throws me a bit off kilter. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how actually seeing Ricky walk wasn’t as overwhelming as it could have been. 

Sometimes we build things up in our heads and make them bigger than they need to be. We should enjoy the little things because for many they turn into big wins.

Julie writes as weekly column in WoW!

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