There's something very interesting, and in some ways, very admirable about Samantha. Samantha doesn't know how to walk. But she walks. How? How is that possible?
Samantha has a drive within her to be like the rest of us, to move, function, and walk just like us. Though she doesn't know how to use her muscles properly...and her brain doesn't even trigger certain reflexes and muscles, she has figured out how to walk.
On Tuesday, Samantha worked on walking. Her feet have gained range...she can stand more flat on her feet. But, when she's there, she has no idea what to do with her body. Her balance is all based on the fact that her brain knows what to do when she is on her toes. She moves by momentum. So when she wants to walk, she leans forward and goes. The idea of taking a true step...deciding to move forward and then picking up her foot and leg to make that movement forward...is just beginning to emerge. On Tuesday, her legs were in these splints, keeping her legs straight, forcing her into position where she'd have to use certain muscles to walk. It took her a very long time to progress across the room. But she did it. She did it with encouraging words, physical touch and guidance, a lot of love supporting her, and her own desire and determination.
It's interesting. The past week Micah has made huge progress towards walking. In one week, he's gone from standing for small moments (seconds really) to standing confidently for minutes at a time. His one step has turned into clusters of 3 steps at a time. He too has the desire and determination. To get here, he's had verbal and physical support. Callie regularly practices walking with him...his hands in hers as she leads him around the house. We cheer for him when he stands for longer periods of time, and clap when he walks. He's had some of the same things Sammy has had in her progress, yet he has already surpassed her skill level. When Micah stands, he's tall and erect. When Micah walks, he consciously picks up his foot and places it on the ground, finds his stability, and takes another step.
Callie has walked since she was tiny. Walking was never an issue for her. She excels in most things physical. She's athletic naturally. Walking was mastered quickly and over the years, she's been able to explore her world through running, dancing, tumbling, and now swimming. Her swimming journey has been more difficult, but with more exposure and encouragement, she's doing so well! I love seeing her progress. I notice during her lessons, she frequently is looking up to make sure I'm looking. She wants the assurance that I'm aware, I'm paying attention, and I can see what she's learning. Kids want us to be involved so we can cheer them on.
I'm not trying to compare my children. That's not my intention. Rather, I'm comparing circumstances in life. It's a reminder to me...as I watch 2 of my children who are about 6 years apart, at the same developmental stage, and 1 who has always progressed quickly through gross motor stages...that we all have the desire to progress. We all want to move forward. It's in our nature to improve, progress, move forward, be the best version of ourselves that we can be. But without that encouragement, support, love...our desire and determination can only get us so far.
And yes, there are those stories of people who beat the odds and when everyone said they couldn't....they did. I believe in those stories. They are uplifting and inspiring. But I don't ever want to risk the potential of my child on the chance that their desire and determination alone will get them to where they want to be, or need to be.
We will keep coming and going to therapy as long as we feel Sammy needs it. It may be challenging at times, but it's what we will do. We will always figure it out. We will go to our kids sports events, musical performances, and awards ceremonies. We will sit in their rooms and chat. We will pray for them, fast for them, study the scriptures with their individual journeys in mind. We will send them quiet winks, blow kisses, and do whatever it necessary for them to know that we love them. We will encourage them. And when it's hard, and their desire and/or determination wanes, we will personally do what it takes to wax it up! Because that is what moms and dads do...or should do. We will be their cheerleader. I have parents who continually cheer me on...and that's what I'll do for Sammy, Callie, Micah, and our future children. It's an honor to do it.