An amazing thing happened

The kids and I just got back from a camping trip in Glacier National Park.  It was full of all the usual things:  campfires and scary stories and mosquitoes and starry skies and hiking, lots of hiking. 

Which to me, felt like a small miracle. 

Four years ago, I was wondering if Avery would ever take his first steps.  Four months ago, we were in the children’s hospital for Avery’s surgery.  And four days ago, Avery completed his very first hike, one in which he walked the whole way. 

In the middle of the trip, we had to cross a two-beam suspension bridge.  My first thought was to carry Avery across it; my second thought was to let him do it (and hover protectively behind him, of course).  

I’m glad I had that second thought–because he handled the bridge like a pro.  When he reached the other side, he turned around to me (I guess my protective hovering wasn’t very secretive), and pumped his fists in the air in a perfect imitation of the kids from the Foundation for a Better Life TV spot.

And I wanted to share this:  to all the parents who write and ask how long it will take to walk, or to potty train, or to read…I give you that image, of Avery’s arms held high in triumph.  Your children will get there, too.   It will happen when it happens, and when it does, it will be beyond your sweetest hopes, beyond words, beyond exclamation points.

Oh, and we found ripe, luscious huckleberries along the trail on our way back–a perfect, purple reminder that life is sometimes unexpectedly sweet.


36 thoughts on “An amazing thing happened

  1. I cried a bit when we got four words together. Hover just enough to guide as needed, lots of fist pumps!!

    1. Hello! Thanks for your contributions to the comments at Pinwheels…and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. We had a late spring storm here in Montana, that threw a monkey wrench into everything, including our Internet access! I always love knowing people are still finding, and reading Pinwheels. It’s so heartwarming to me, and I thank you for taking the time to comment. And I couldn’t agree more! We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but fist-pumps for every accomplishment is always, to my way of thinking, the very best response. Thanks again for being in touch, Jennifer

  2. Pingback: Mid-August Goodies
  3. Thanks for the image. We’ve twin boys, almost 4. One on the autism spectrum, the other with some delays. Potty training is our big deal at the moment, but I look forward to the day when Primo or Secondo looks back at me and pumps his fists.


  4. I also had a moment like that as my son(age 9) ran in the Special Olympics this spring and won a gold at State!! All those hard years of therapy, dreaming of the day he would walk came flooding back to me at that finish line. Now I can’t stop him. He’s running, jumping, climbing and giving me gray hair. What a wonderful feeling!!!!!
    Maybe someday we will meet as we share the same last name and live in beautiful MT

  5. Thanks. We were on a trail yesterday and want to go back someday. Benji is 11 months. I am so glad for this great inspiration.

    Now I have to learn to hike myself….

  6. I can just picture his fist in the air after his feat across the bridge.

    Beautiful post Jennifer [as you always write] and what a wonderful reminder that our children [all of them] will make their journey exactly the way there are supposed to, in their own time, in their own way…..and when they reach a goal, how sweet it is to beable to celebrate it with them.

    Now for those huckleberries… is truly unexpectedly sweet!!!!

  7. Crying as I read this. My sister and sweet nephew, Brennan, are on their way to the Ds conference in Sacramento even as I type. Thank you for inspiring our entire family. And GO AVERY!

  8. That sounds amazing. Avery sounds so thrilled and pleased with himself. I think that was great of you to let him do it by himself. So he’s becoming and avid hiker:). Way to go Avery!

  9. wow. i picture it being so perfect the way you describe it. just a tad bit jealous!!!!!!
    And how brave that boy of yours his and his mama too!!

  10. So Beautiful! I’m so glad that you had such a lovely time…
    Your experience reminds me so much of when I was told that Dillon wouldn’t walk until he was 4. I had many moments when I was discouraged, but knew that he was going to get there. Our beautiful moment was when he began to walk two months before his 3rd birthday!! Now I know not to listen to “the experts”, but to just wait on when Dillon is just ready;)
    Thanks for writting such a beautiful post!!!

  11. What an awesome image of Avery pumping his fists. I’d be scared to death about walking over the bridge myself, though, let alone any child who isn’t the most steady. He’s so brave!

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We love to hike. We have put off hiking trips with our girls until they were older, then we had John. I have wondered will he be able to hike? Will he have the stamina, the strength? Thank you for once again reminding me that ANYTHING is possible. And thank you to your sweet and strong Avery too!

  13. Thank you for the wonderful words and advice. I think “beyond exclamation points” is a perfect description for the feeling I get when I watch Caleb get something he’s been working on.

  14. What a glorious image you’ve shared with us. So much is possible with love, trust, faith, encouragement…and tincture of time.

    I look forward to reading more such triumphs as Avery grows. xo

  15. That is a fabulous image. I shall think of that image pretty regularly when Nonna asks [again] are they autistic? How long will they be autistic for? When will they grow out of it? I shall lodge that image and swing along underneath it every time…………

  16. Jennifer, congratulations with Avery walking. Gabriella just started crawling about 2 to 3 weeks ago. I was so excited and elated. Thanks for the reminder that “it will come.”

    I can picture Avery with arms up in victory. YAY Avery!!!

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