The first answer I thought of for this took place the last time I had to learn to walk again.
The summer after seventh grade, I had a big surgery in hopes of helping me walk better longer.
Nine cuts were made, various muscles and pieces of bone were relocated — the whole 9 yards.
Then came the casts. They were followed by physical therapy, which included the task of relearning how to walk.
If you asked several people with cerebral palsy what the hardest part of learning to walk is, you might get several answers.
For me, it was learning to shift my weight so I could actually put one foot in front of the other.
For a while I had to consciously tell myself, “OK, shift all of your weight to your left leg, pick up your right foot, swing your right leg forward some and put your right foot down.”
Then I’d repeat the process to step with my left foot.
It was slow going at first.
Eventually, on flat ground, shifting my weight became second nature.
The “flat ground” part of the equation is key, because shifting my weight was not second nature when it came time to lift a walker and step up on the new doorstep built to accommodate the wheelchair I had used after surgery.
It took a long time of standing next to the step and figuring out how I was going to get on it.
The problem wasn’t so much shifting my weight by then as it was I didn’t trust my legs to work well enough to hold while I raised the walker and took an inclined step.
My legs felt different and worked differently after the surgery than before, and it took time for me to adjust.
Daddy knew my legs would hold earlier than I did.
He stood behind me and prodded me up the step until I got enough confidence to go it alone.
Soon, first steps onto doorsteps were second nature, too.