Saturday, March 5, 2011

I wish I could tell you/And now I will show you

There are two lamps on in this room. Two computers open and on, two checkbooks on the floor, two file boxes waiting for filing that didn't begin today. The carpet is covered with piles of paper and file folders, calculator and pens.

At the edge of it all there are two votives burning beeswax candles. Their light has been here all day as I have sat working in preparation for mediation, pre-divorce.

I wish I could tell you the questions, the struggles, the alarms that have come up in over a year of marital separation with a child with special needs. The things that I wonder tonight, the concerns I hope to convey to everyone who will help write out the future terms of our child's life.

But I cannot. Because it's a legal matter.

So I will tell you this: Not long ago as the year goes, but an eternity as six-year-olds go, I came to pick up my son after work one day and was told the teacher needed to speak to me. Things are usually smooth at the preschool that provides after school care, so I wondered if there had been an injury. But no: the teacher wanted to gently, carefully, warn me that my son had been walking around the classroom unassisted all afternoon.

There was a pause, as I absorbed how necessary the gentle warning indeed was, and as time and belief and the ground all swooped into one giant, beautiful carved bowl of moment. Somewhere in my nervous system a hand reached in and turned down a knob so that I wouldn't get stomach cramps like I did when John started using the walker two years ago.

We went through our usual afternoon routine on the preschool playground: Sister playing, John and I talking about his day or whatever he wants to talk about, maybe playing something, hugging a lot. I tried to tone down my inevitable inquiry about his walking. 

Two days after that, when we were getting ready for school in the morning, John announced, "And now I will show you how I walk."

Back and forth in the hallway. 12 steps, over and over, then a length of 25 steps to his room. He had it. He had it.

It's been weeks now, and the experimentation and play he is trying on those long legs is beautiful and endless.

I will do the best I can for this child. I can't stop that. Both in this settlement and after it, no matter what is decided. And John will keep going. And each time I see him walk to his seat in the classroom, ask to learn how to unlock the front door, rise from the floor and take stepsI marvel again.


  1. Leah, I'm so thrilled for you! Our son is still in his walker and we don't know when he will walk. We look forward to that day. I'm so sorry you are going through other difficult things now. You are in my thoughts.

  2. I wish that you didn't feel muzzled about the complexities of your divorce. But I'm absolutely dazzled by the complexities of what you DID share instead. Congratulations...and I hope it turns out the way you want it to. :)