Aurora, 18 months old and some change, and still not walking on her own (well, 11 steps on her own so far, mostly walking between one pair of outstretched hands and another pair of outstretched hands). She’s a champion mover, though. She does this crab-walk crawl at what feels like 60 miles per hour, and holds onto legs and furniture while cruising without worry, but ask her to take a step on her own, even the distance between two sets of outstretched hands ready to catch her, and she balks. Her pediatrician says that Aurora knows how to walk but won’t, and a physical therapist says that there is no physiological reason why Aurora can’t walk, and Holly thinks that maybe Aurora won’t walk because she likes to be carried–who doesn’t like to be carried.
But I think–or I was thinking recently, watching Shaun try to get Aurora to walk on her own–that maybe learning to walk is the first step in a line of lessons that leads to learning how to fall in love, with love being a direct descendant to walking. You have to give up control, and you have to be willing to get hurt, and you have to ready to get up and start again, and you have to be sturdy and strong and steadfast.
Even the first steps you take when falling in love mirror the first steps you take when learning to walk. Holding on to other things as if your life depended on you holding onto other things, and your life does depend on holding onto other things. Staring at the gaps between comfortable places and traversing these gaps. Learning to be OK with the uncomfortable bits, and ignoring the advice of other people (go this way, go that way, faster, slower, watch out for the wall), and taking things at your own pace.
Headfirst and over heels and recklessly you and love, together but not together, because love, like gravity–which Aurora doesn’t seem to understand will keep her on her feet–work only when you believe that they will work. And love, like gravity, can keep you grounded, though I haven’t fully decided if I believe that love keeps you grounded, but I don’t necessarily believe in gravity. I just know that gravity is there.
Part of me hopes that Aurora is as cautious with love as she is with walking on her own, and part of me hopes that she is as careless with love as she is when eating yogurt (with her hands, and then with her chin, neck, and even her ears) because these careless bits are the bits you most need, if you’re planning to one day run, headfirst, with abandon, certain in your uncertainty.