Baby's First Step

September 12, 2008
I steal one last glance at my beloved father before I embark on my latest adventure. He is speaking animatedly to a woman with fiery orange hair. He becomes so engaged in conversations at these parties that my absence will go unnoticed.

Yet, I am hesitant. How do I know my theory will work? I’ve only ever watched this been done. Will the concept remain the same for me? There is only one way to find out, of course.

I move all apprehension to the very back of my thoughts. Now is the time to concentrate on the task before me.

I delicately peel Daddy’s fingers from my own. His hand falls limply to his side, and his eyes do not leave the woman he is talking to. I feel a slight pang of jealousy that my actions went unseen because of a complete stranger, but I quickly remind myself that this in my best interest. The more he talks to her, the less concerned he will be with me.

I realize too late that my body becomes much more unstable without my man’s hand to hold on to. This new force of gravity catches me off guard. I sway indefinitely, and then flop noiselessly to the ground.

I am so filled with determination now, that this fall does not faze me. I check unconsciously the check if they are still speaking. I heave my body up using my firmly-planted arms. I learn that once my balance is regained, standing becomes easier; especially when I hold my arms out from my sides.

I lift my left foot tentatively from the fuzzy carpet and replace it again quickly. I repeat this with my other foot. All is safe. Perfect. I raise my left foot once more. I stick it out awkwardly in front of me, as far away from my body as I can manage, then thrust it to the floor.

With a feeling of profound accomplishment, I drag my right leg forward to meet my left one. Again, I regain that deep sensation of success. I am walking, really walking. There is nothing that can stop me from being a Big Person now!

I bravely take a fast and foolish step. This one was not as thought out and planned, like the others. I topple to the floor like before. I mentally take note that this kind of muscle memory is not immediate. I know that this walking will have to be practiced. Suddenly, I understand the use of the phrase “baby steps.” Boosting myself up, I repeat what I had first done. One leg, then the other, then the other.

I was really moving now. Weaving myself through the legs of the other guests at the party, I managed to reach all the way to the other wall. I fell against it in exhaustion. It had been hard work, but worth every second of it. The cool plaster was refreshing on my cheek. I rested there a moment more, and then continued on. My next goal was to explore the wonderful kitchen.

I had almost reached my destination, when I heard my father calling. I could hear the panic rising slightly in his voice as he called out my name.

“Sophie! Sophie! Where are you darling?” His huge feet stomped their way into the kitchen. I made a gurgling noise to tell him that everything was alright. He acknowledged this by stooping down so he was at eye level with me. “What have you been up to, little one? Daddy missed you,” he told me. I chirped away about my recent adventure. He smiled at me, patiently listening to my baby ramblings.

My Dad scooped me into his arms and hugged me tight. For that moment, I felt like I was queen of the world. I could now walk all by myself, and my favorite person in the whole universe was proud of me. This was all that mattered to me in my little world.

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