Today marks one year from the day that Andrew finally started walking. I remember because it was my brother's birthday (shout out! : ). We were in Sunday School and though Andrew was quite a fast crawler, he finally decided he was ready to walk to keep up with his little friend, Lydia. He was two weeks shy of 18 months and starting nursery.
When he was younger he learned to roll over without too much trouble - demonstrating the ability to roll both ways by the time we were at his 4 month appointment. He learned how to pivot himself, so between turning and rolling he was able to get almost anywhere he wanted and was content. Eventually he learned to army crawl and got really pretty good. Good for him, terrible for his clothes - he dust mopped everywhere we went. It wasn't until he was around a year (or over a year and we had moved?) that he finally started crawling on his hands and knees. By the time we moved and he was 14 months he could pull up to stand at things, but never attempted steps and wasn't able to just stand up wherever. By mid-December when he was about 16 months we could get him to try to stand and start to take some steps going back and forth between us.
We were never really concerned that he'd never learn, but we did wonder how long it would take. The hardest parts were the ruined clothes, the inconvenience at times, and the awkward social factor ("actually, no, our toddler can't walk..."). But of course as I spent pretty much all day every day with him it was always in my face that he lacked the skill, so I thought about it a lot. We tried to encourage desire and support development.
One day when we were living (temporarily) in Jersey City I had a simple experience that helped to put things in perspective for me. As we were trying to entertain ourselves in the apartment that was only so big, and with only so many toys and books at our disposal, I watched him crawling around and I tried to encourage some standing or step taking. I started to think in a little bit of desperation again: when will he ever learn to walk??! Suddenly I had the words to a children's song that we liked to sing to him sometimes (and still do) come into my mind: "Teach me to walk in the light." Of course we wanted him to learn to walk, and he would when the time was right, but more importantly, and what I really should be focusing my efforts on was teaching him the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to live and love it in our family and in his own life.
Since that day in late October or early November 2015 I've tried to keep that experience and thought close to me and in the forefront of my mind. Helping my kids learn and develop in physical, mental, social, and emotional (etc) ways is absolutely important. But the most important of all is helping them learn how to have a testimony of their own - through my teaching, love, and especially example.
Now he's been able to walk (run? : ) for a whole year and continues to build on his gross and fine motor capabilities. (He's sitting right here, tongue out in concentration, cutting me piece after piece of construction paper to add to my growing pile ("here Mom!") with his brand new safety scissors that he's so excited about! : ) Even though he's hit that typically early-life physical milestone, I hope I can always remember that teaching him to walk in the light is a life-long effort and worth more than all the other things I can help him learn.