The Subtleties of Preparing to Walk

At some point in the coming months, Aria will let go of my hand or dad’s hand and will take the first independent steps of her life. I’ve been watching her progress towards this feat for weeks. In the process I’ve realized how many more times I should have repeated my side kick and forms to become a true martial artist. 

Over and over and over. No one tells her what to do, but she seems to just know what to practice next. To prepare to crawl, she must have done ten thousand superman’s. Over and over and over. Stronger and stronger and stronger. Now you can hold her feet up and she’ll stay in plank like a gymnast for longer than I can. 

I wish I’d blogged about it as she went. Something happened in the late summer where my blogging confidence melted away like the last monuments of winter in a spring rainstorm. I didn’t know how to share the little miracles of Aria learning how to be human. I started to realize how normal Aria’s development was and became afraid of sharing the mundane. And went on to share less and fill several posts with fluff.

But I still love the subtleties of watching Aria learn to walk – to learn to be human. 

How did it all start?

Perhaps it’s too late to remember. I guess I’ll do my best. 

It started by looking up and wanting to be higher – to reach and pull and grab what was once out of reach. 

Over and over and over.  Week after week after week. 


She would scootch, reach up, pull with her arms and push with her legs. First onto her knees and then her toes. First at an angle and then straight up like she’d been doing all her seven or eight months of life. 

So many muscles working in harmony. So many muscles learning to follow her command, to take her to the obstacles she was determined to surmount. 

No wonder she would smile as she gazed over the world from the slightly new vantage she had gained.


And then the squats began. Dozens, hundreds, more than I ever did in three years of martial arts. 

Up down up down up down. 

No drill sergeant to demand it. 

Up down up down up down. 

I watch in fascination as she tried over and over again to come down to the floor, pick something up, and then stand back up again without having to get on her belly. 


She just wanted to. The need was deep inside her. So she kept doing it over and over. She kept coming down on her belly. But each time she got stronger.  

Until she could do it. No wobbles. Just take it and stand. 

I have a feeling that’s the kind of life she’s going to live. She’s been pushing to reach her goals since the first minutes after she was born. 



I don’t know when Aria is going to learn how to walk. But what I’ve learned is what it takes to become strong. Pure intention, consistency, repetition, and that deep drive to be and do more — that animal-like drive to stand up and be human. 


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