Hope let go.
Saturday, unable to find her beloved Winnie the Pooh push cart or inferior-but-will-do-in-a-pinch lawnmower one, Hope stood against a wall, looked around, thought Why not? and walked.
It wasn't one of those Oh, I'll take a few brave steps and grab ahold of something sturdy walks, either. This was Lewis and Clark, Vasco de Gama and Neil Armstrong embarking on brave new world conquests.
Hope planted her flag in her bedroom, surveyed the riches, proceeded to the hallway and declared our bedroom part of her sovereign kingdom. It wasn't a one-and-done dilettantish affair either. Once Hope realized she could walk, she's become Speed Racer, moseying about the house in a royal quest quest to knock stuff over, inspect coasters, open and close cabinets and see what she can throw in the toilet next.
We're ecstatic, of course. It's been such a long time coming. She's been inching this way for some time since she began cruising on Memorial Day Weekend in 2009. Slowly but surely, she gained more confidence and strength and put the pieces together.
We thought she was ready for a breakthrough in spring and set the end of summer as a goal to get her walking. She suffered a setback. We weren't sure if it was the introduction of a baby brother or molars or outgrowing her orthodics, but her confidence sagged. So did her progress.
We were bummed. But Hope gets her determination from Mom and procrastination from Dad and pulled it out with two days to spare.
There were days, early on, when we weren't sure this day would come. Before Hope could sit, when she was a bit of a wiggly blob, her first physical therapist, Shirley, told Mo: "She's going to be a mover. I can see her running one day."
Mo cried. The affirmation came just when we needed it and carried us through some slow months. Hope's not quite running just yet. But she will.