I did something different this morning.
Usually I leave with 10 minutes for us to walk the 300 metres to the bus stop, which honestly is ample time for a walk that can be done in 3 minutes! lol even with that extra time, every morning is filled with lots of –
Come on Ella, Hurry Up Ella, I’ll leave you behind Ella (she doesn’t care) We’ll miss the bus Ella (again, she doesn’t care 😂) lots of holding her by the hand and coaching her along, Telling her to put down various twigs and sticks, on the bad days there’s yelling etc etc. It can be really frustrating for both of us!
Anyway, this morning, we were all up early (thanks Reece) and ready so I figured, fuck it, we’ll head off half an hour before we usually do, it’s the last day of school.
I let Ella lead the way, and of course we didn’t even make it out of the driveway before she was distracted by a little spider, I stopped and let her play with it for a bit, and before I knew it she was ready to keep going. 15 steps later she stopped to walk sideways along the fence, again I just dawdled along beside her, we stopped to poke and stomp on some ants nests, and pick up a rock… And it was about here, not even past our property line, that it hit me
She can walk
Not that long ago she would have needed her chair to get even this short amount of distance, and as we stopped yet again to pick gum trees off and smell them I thought about her wheelchair, The chair that offered us so much freedom when we got it, now sitting in the garage with a thin layer of dust on it, and I realised I don’t even remember the last time we needed it, and how lucky we were.
How lucky am I that I get to tell at Ella to hurry up. As we stopped yet again for Ella to walk backwards for a while, and wave at the ducks I thought How lucky are we that Ella gets to play with ant nests and pull leaves of trees and fuck around however she wants.
As I watched her more closely, a half hour that previously would have been excruciatingly long, went by in an instant. I saw the expression of wonder on her face at the tiny ants, and the amazement as she stopped to watch a plane fly past until it was out of sight. Tiny little moments that I would have missed, had I been telling her to hurry up and watching the time
I remember clear as day being told that Ella will never walk, a concept so abstract and scary to me, I tried to come to terms with it, and it took me until she was around 3 and still not walking before i think i accepted it. Yet here she is, walking (very slowly at the moment) inspecting, exploring, and I felt truly lucky.
I’m in a unique position to be able to appreciate something that I think most people take for granted, and I’ve been so busy lately, focused on schedules and goals that I had forgotten that. A kid that can walk, what a gift, what an honour!
Now this isn’t some bullshit inspirational “I’m going to change my life” post. I’m definitely not going to start getting up an hour early so that Ella can dawdle her way to school every morning, and lets face it I’ll probably still need to tell her to hurry up from time to time!
But I will make sure to appreciate what we have, and try to make more time to explore with Ella.
I think that’s something that Ella can teach us all, to just stop and smell the gum leaves.