Usually adjusting to a new normal has a negative connotation–getting used to life with illness or loss. But I find myself trying to adapt to a new normal that is happy and, well, literally normal.
In August, I wrote about how my 1-year-old couldn’t sit himself up and had to start physical therapy to help him get moving. I knew at the time that he’d continue therapy until he could crawl, and I figured that meant a few visits. Eight and a half months later, we can finally stop. Jared can walk on his own.
It goes without saying that I am elated. I don’t have to watch him cry through his visits or struggle to get where he wants to go. I don’t have to wonder if he will need to be put under anesthesia for an MRI, which would have been the next step, a pediatric neurologist told me last week. He examined Jared and couldn’t offer any explanation for why he wouldn’t walk without help.
The physical therapist had said basically the same thing the week before. He had the balance and strength to walk unassisted, but he still clung to a hand or furniture or a wall. If he had nothing to hold, he dropped to all-fours and crawled. Nothing enticed him to fly solo, not even a chance to hold my iPhone or get a coveted yogurt melt.
My daughter’s teacher suggested that he was just being willful. After all, she has known my daughter for three years and it could run in the family.
About a month ago, we were playing in the driveway with a Little Tykes basketball hoop. My husband handed Jared the ball. He took it with both hands and walked a few steps to the hoop to dunk it. That was as close to walking alone as he’d get until last Friday, when he suddenly just went. I don’t know what made him do it. We were outside and he simply walked. Ten minutes later he tried to run.
For a few days, he walked only when he wasn’t in the house. Inside, he crawled. But now he walks. I laugh like a deranged person every time he comes stomping into a room. But after eight and a half months of worry, the fear lingers. That tightness in my muscles, that concern–Jared may have let go of me, but they haven’t.
I’m not complaining, mind you. I will eventually stop assuming that every time I see Jared crawl it means he has stopped walking and needs therapy again. Maybe I will even get to the point of being able to be annoyed when I have to chase him around a Nordstrom shoe department, which I did the other day. But for now, I’ll leave the annoyance to the workers and other customers. Their frustration will be fleeting. Mine gestated for eight and a half months. Mama needs new running shoes.