We had taken a quick trip to the grocery store. The entire time, while sitting the cart, Calvin screamed his head off. We can't tell if this mania is drug related, sheer excitement, over-stimulation or if he is trying to tell us that he wants out. Exasperated, I took him out and helped him push the cart instead. Barely tall enough to reach the handle, and unable to clench it firmly by himself, I held his hands on tightly beneath mine. He did so well walking behind the cart that it gave me an idea for later.
Up until a month or two ago Calvin would not walk away from our house in any direction. All attempts to do so were met with stubborn refusal. For practice walking in the grass I had to carry him to the edge of the yard just so he would walk back to the house, which he does with great enthusiasm. When walking Calvin wears a harness that has a strap for us to hold on to. We follow him around the house like this all day long. The harness is meant for kids who tend to wander off in places like Grand Central Station, but we use it as a walking assist. It allows Calvin to amble somewhat independently while we prevent him from any bad falls.
Once home from the store I unloaded the groceries and then unloaded Calvin. I took his hand and led him away from the car telling him we were going to try walking down the sidewalk. He did so happily and steadily. And though I had to grip his hand to help his balance Calvin did not pivot and fall, trip or refuse. He did not try to sit or tug me back in the direction of our house. He walked with such skill and enthusiasm -- simply holding my hand -- that we ended up at my friend Woody's, three houses down! Woody met me at the door and I burst into tears telling him of Calvin's accomplishment. Woody cried too.
I have been dreaming for years of the moment that Calvin and I could stroll hand in hand down the street with ease. I was overjoyed and sitting on top of the moon. It was happening right before my eyes; the day had finally come that all of our efforts carrying him, coaxing him, training him, encouraging him and supporting him had finally paid off. It felt akin to the pure, simple freedom and exhilaration of riding a bike the first time without training wheels.