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Step by step

Step by step

Oh, little Max. You keep reaching for my hand—patting my leg and looking up-up-up at your mama—and asking me to walk you around the house. No words, of course, but you want to learn and your pleading eyes say it all, “Will you help me? I wanna find dad.” We’ve been doing this dance for...

4Oh, little Max. You keep reaching for my hand—patting my leg and looking up-up-up at your mama—and asking me to walk you around the house. No words, of course, but you want to learn and your pleading eyes say it all, “Will you help me? I wanna find dad.” We’ve been doing this dance for a while now—you asking for help in the apartment, the market, the café and the park—and me taking your hand to oblige. This month you’ve become sturdy and strong on your feet, and to be honest, little man? You’re young and you’re scared, but you’re prepped and ready for adventures all your own.
You crawled over to me just a second ago, and you pulled yourself up to prepare for a jaunt around the apartment. I was sorting laundry when you arrived, so you stood, wide-eyes waiting and watching, as I finished separating men’s and women’s and, it still makes me
1-ehappy to say it, baby’s clothing. Piles sorted, I took your hand and watched you gather strength, courage and excitement: It was time to find dad. How did I know dad was on your mind? Because I know you, my bean, and you love showing him how hard you’re working to be just like him. It’s a good goal.
Up and away: It’s go time once we join hands. Your smiling eyes sparkle and shine as you put your feet to work and step by step make your way toward the bedroom. Faster and faster, we’re picking up speed, and you start to giggle with delight. Movement makes you giddy with joy, and this walking thing is the most fun discovery yet. May it never cease to be so; I hope you always find joy in everyday, ordinary tasks.
2We round the corner from the living room to the bedroom, and I slow down so you can gather strength and steady your legs. Then, ever so slowly, I start slipping my hand out of yours, so this walking thing becomes all about you. You’re just about on your own—holding onto the tips of my fingers only—when you realize what I’m doing. You can’t speak words, sure, but you’re fluent in expressions. And right now you’re throwing out: “NEVER LET ME GO, MOM! YOU KNOW I NEED YOU!” Exasperated and upset, you fall to your knees and refuse to move an inch without my support.
Oh dear, sweet boy. How do I show you just how strong you truly are? You’ve got this walking thing down, I promise. All that’s left to do is believe in yourself. Perhaps you’ll wobble a bit at first, but—keep steady and chin-up, and you’ll go so, so far. Not just to dad in the bedroom, but one-two step all over this great big world. You’ve got so much passion and joy, and the world is waiting, needing really, to see your light. Gather courage and step outside—I promise good things will come of it.
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