Four Steps

Attitude makes all the difference, but sometimes the simplest thing can change your attitude.


Julianna is walking.


It’s the difference between four steps and eight…and yet it’s so much more than that. These are not four staggering steps, on the verge of collapse at any moment. These are eight confident steps, centered and balanced and deliberate, totally under control, starting and ending from an unsupported standing position. They are different.


And she knows it. Oh, she knows it. She’s always loved walking, but man, you should see the size of the smile now. Julianna has the silly grin, with her mouth closed, the one that says “I know I’m being cute!” She has the out-of-control giggle grin, when she’s laughing through her nose at Daddy or Mommy or Alex, with her head thrown back.


And then there’s this smile.

Look at me!
Look at me!

I’m not sure her mouth can stretch any bigger. It’s the smile of triumph, of self-realization…of growth.


And suddenly, instead of getting mad, being frustrated about the stubbornness and the loud “AAAAAAAAAHHH” and the two-year-old willfulness (more on that tomorrow), it’s all I can do to respect my medical restrictions and refrain from picking her up, throwing her in the air as Gerti and Christian do, swinging her in circles and plying her with kisses.


The door swings both ways, too. Suddenly, she really likes me. She signs “Mommy” all the time. Yesterday I took the boys to the optometrist for Alex’s first eye exam, and when I got back, the sitter told me that Julianna spent the entire time signing “Mommy,” climbing up the stairs, poking her head in one room and another, looking for me. I’ve never bothered telling Julianna when I was leaving, because she hasn’t been at the cognitive level where it made a difference. But now I know it’s not just Alex that I must take my leave of. Julianna misses me when I’m gone.


All this, from four steps.