About 3 weeks ago I finally ordered a new walker. I’d had my old one for almost 10 years, but had to get rid of it when one of the back wheels got sliced by a rock and the other literally stopped turning. (Another reference to the blog title…)It was getting really squeaky and annoying and I just wanted to be rid of it, but when the new one arrived I couldn’t help but feel almost a little bit nostalgic, as ridiculous as that may sound. I just started thinking about all the “memories” i had with this walker and I’ll the things I’ve gone through with it. Okay, so I’ve had walkers since I was two years old, you wouldn’t think it would really matter that much when I got a new one, but this time it did. I’d recently named him Texas Ranger, get it? WALKER, Texas Ranger. And this was a tough goodbye.
My old walker has been a part of my life since around about 8th grade. Big changing years for any kid. The decisions of where to go to high school, countless friend trials and tribulations, unbelievably disgusting crushes on boys who would grow up to be…well, they’d never grow up. This walker was with me as I went to public high school with all my close friends, while my best friend made the decision to go to private high school, our first time apart since we were born. It was there as I found my way through my teenage years, both gaining and losing along the way. It was there to hold me up, literally and figuratively, as I lost both of my grandmothers. It was there crossing the graduation stage with me and as I stepped into a whole new world of college life and it has been there through three amazing, and at times crazy heartbreaking, college years.
For me, looking back, there was only one decision and moment in life that is most difficult to realize this walker was there for, and that all decision completely centered around my walker itself. Toward the end of my 8th grade year, I started realizing that this walker was a real pain in the ass. It was heavy, and metal, and even though at times it was a great buffer, the fact that I couldn’t get closer than a foot to something at any given time made thing difficult. I decided that I didn’t want the walker anymore, that I was going to teach myself (with the help of PT, of course) not to need it. At first I thought it was going to be easy, I mean babies do it at like a year old, so how hard could it be right? As time when on though, I knew there was no way I could handle this on my own padding my bedroom floor incase I fell.
Funny the bit of a memory that stick with you. I remember the first person, or people actually that I told, were my family friends Jenny & Erin. (I’ve always refered to them as my cousins, but really, we’re friends. And good ones! :)) I remember running into them at the mall and telling Jenny that I had a talk to her about something and I’d call her when I got home. I remember sitting in my living room, the farthest room from where my parents were, and telling her how badly I wanted to do this. I didn’t care what it would take. And I remember her telling me that she believed I could. She was the first person to tell me that. For years, and I really mean years, they were the only two people that knew. In fact, up until last year. The walker was there for that moment; that life-changing moment that has shaped the past eight or nine years of my life.
This walker has been there as a tried, quit, tried again, had people tell me I was attempting the impossible, and changed Physical Therapist many times. Most importantly, it was there when that moment finally arrived on July 21 2005, almost 4 years ago to the day. I took at least 10 steps on my own that day and I thank God that I happened to have my camera with me that day, otherwise I wouldn’t have believed it.
I have not taken steps by myself since that day, for reasons I don’t fully understand, but that walker was there as I’ve continued to try over the past 4 years–never willing to give up. So, as I sat in my kitchen staring at the old walker ready to be recycled, and the new one ready to embark on another journey through the years, it was tough. I felt like I was letting go of the part of my life I’ve been trying to get rid of for so long, only to see a new bright shiny replacement. But most of all I felt like I was letting go of the last remaining physical reminder of that amazing day that replays in my head everytime I drift off to sleep. I can only hope that this new walker can hold up through just as much and provide me with another opportunity to feel as though I don’t need it.