As I write this blog today, I am literally beaming with pride. I think back on everything my little Maddy has overcome, and I could not be happier for her. From the moment she was born, and I heard the word clubfoot, I knew we had some challenges coming. My Google searches on that word later proved that I was right. The doctors also confirmed my suspicions by telling me that she would be behind with most developmental milestones.
At 3 weeks of age and casts reaching from the tips of her toes to the tops of her thighs, my heart ached for her legs that she was not allowed to use. How frustrating it must be to not be able to move your legs, I thought. How irritating it must be to not be able to stretch or bend your legs! But she proved to be a fighter, and she was the happiest baby I'd ever seen. It was as if she was telling me to have no pity on her, for how can you pity someone who's smiling? So we carried on, and the casts became just a part of her. They became such a normal part of our lives that her older sister even asked me one day why I had no baby pictures of her with her casts. She assumed that all babies had to wear them.
At 4 months of age, while still wearing casts on both legs, Maddy rolled over from her belly to back right on time just like the average baby. By 7 months of age, with the casts replaced by an uncomfortable brace that held her feet apart at an angle, she was sitting unassisted. By 9 1/2 months, she was crawling with her brace. By 10 months, she only had to wear the brace while sleeping and was in physical therapy. At 11 months, she was pulling up to standing. Soon after, she was cruising around the furniture. In the midst of all her incredible milestones that proved not to be as delayed as predicted, the doctors continued to express concern for her development. I was baffled and annoyed. How could they possibly see red flags when she's doing all these wonderful things?! My pride for her continued to grow despite being surrounded by naysayers, and she continued to be the happiest baby in the world. My first two children were not walking by a year old, so I showed no concern that Maddy was not walking either. She would get it when she's ready. And then one day she did. Four days shy of 14 months old, Maddy was sitting in the middle of the living room. She looked at the floor, she looked at me, and then she put her hands on the floor in front of her. She leaned forward, sticking her little bottom up in the air, and she pushed off. She slowly and carefully came to a standing position, and she stared at me with the biggest brown eyes I've ever seen. Her face showed pure concentration. Her arms balanced her wide stance, and she began to smile. Her left foot moved forward a few inches, and then her right. She plopped down to the floor and gave me a huge grin. I couldn't help but grab her and squeeze her with excitement. A mother is always proud when her baby starts walking, but my pride in that very moment exceeded anything I had ever witnessed. Two steps are hardly called "walking," but for Madison Grey, it's a huge accomplishment. And now it's only a matter of time.