Last week, Charlie did this...

A small ‘step’ indeed, but it might as well have been a mountain. 

In a serendipitous turn of events, we were in fact on a mountain at the time.

We’ve been working toward this achievement for more than two years. 

In and out of physiotherapy sessions, we’ve presented Charlie with stairs, kerbs, hills, slides, and just plain uneven ground. 

It’s always resulted in one of two outcomes: either she stops dead and refuses to step forward, or we physically elevate one foot for her despite her obvious discomfort and imbalance.

On this day, we had taken Charlie out with whole family (a rare enough occasion in itself) for a bushwalk at beautiful Mount Tamborine. 

We had finished our walk, enjoyed some sandwiches at the local café, and were headed back to the car. 

I decided to ‘walk’ Charlie to give her an opportunity to stretch her legs after sitting in the hiking pack all morning. 

As we’ve done so many times before, I approached the small kerb without much expectation. 

This time, Charlie nonchalantly stepped her way up without even looking at it!!

Only Dylan (11) and I were there to witness the momentous first occasion, but our shouts and laughter soon brought the rest of the family running. 

Obligingly, Charlie repeated the feat seven or eight times, showing no sign of excitement but enjoying the attention nonetheless.

Even the family of strangers eating their ice creams behind us had realised that something great was happening, and they enthusiastically joined in on the clapping and cheering. 

I have no idea what ‘clicked’ for Charlie that day, but it seemed the most effortless thing in the world. 

Was it the bright yellow warning line that triggered something in her brain? 

Was it a smaller-than-usual kerb? 

Was is the presence of the whole family, the stimulation of a lovely walk to the waterfalls in a light summer drizzle, or the full and satisfied tummy? 

I suppose we’ll never know, but this was another red letter day for us.

I am often humbled when watching our children work so hard to achieve so little, but I am at least as often reminded that these ‘little’ things are enormous in the context of their lives. 

To borrow from NASA’s excellent speech-writer… it may have been a small step for a child, but it is a giant leap for children like Charlie. 

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