Independent Walker by Ellen Stumbo

I walked into the school office to pick up Nina’s walker, her mode of transportation for the school hallway every morning. The walker was missing.

“Nina, sweetheart, what about you start walking towards your classroom. I’ll sign in and catch up with you so I can help.”

“Okay mom.”

By the time I caught up with Nina, I realized her gait was sure and steady (although it is obvious she has cerebral palsy when she walks). Rather than holding her hand, I took out my cell phone and started recording her as she walked down the hall.

She did not stop for balance even once.

When I first became a special needs mom, I feared the limitations our family would live with. The truth is, cerebral  palsy does present us with challenges due to mobility issues. Our trips require extra thought. Will we be walking longer distances? Do we need to bring her wheelchair? Will she be okay just with her walker? Can she participate in the activities other kids will be doing? Will she require an adult with her at all times?

Yet this was one of those moments that fill you with pride, happiness, and an overwhelming sense of gratefulness you get to witness a miracle. Because walking is not something that all kids accomplish by age two. Some never do. For many of us parents of kids with special needs, “your child will never…” is a statement we have heard. And maybe it is true, our children “should have never…” but then they do.

I played and played that video when I got home. I smiled like a fool taking in those beautiful awkward steps. I know how hard she has worked to be able to walk independently. I know the tears and even the physical pain of stretching her tight muscles so that her body can work properly.

I could watch my daughter walk all day. She is closer to more and more independence. I know she’s proud.



  1. Marcia Wong says

    i just wanted to tell u that i shared this article in a FB group i’m a member of – Cerebral Palsy Parents Information Group… i’m sure it’s gonna be liked a bunch 🙂

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