I am hovering like all mother's do. Practically bent in half, my long body is close to the ground. Trying to match the height of my almost three year old, Zoe. I am behind her.

As I have been taught, I don't touch her. She knows I am there but I am not allowed to give her the extra security of my touch. I hover with my hands in air- I will catch her if her balance reactions fail. She is learning to use her forearm crutches, and it takes almost all of her energy to manage her tiny steps into coordinated movement with her crutches.

We are walking the short path that leads to our front door. It is perhaps ten feet in distance and I am sure, has been traveled by hundreds of footsteps. Hurried footsteps, slow and leisurely footsteps. Footsteps born from strong legs with healthy muscles.

A hummingbird crosses our path. As Zoe moves her eyes from her feet to the bird, the rapid shift in vision causes her to lose her balance. We stop to watch the hummingbird as it dives into the trumpet vine. It finds a place to perch and begins to sing. Zoe is delighted as I am sure she believes the impromptu concert is for her. She giggles and the bird stays.

In these few feet Zoe has walked hundreds of tiny steps but for our family she has run a mile. I watch Zoe as she begins to hum. She radiates pure joy.

It is not the act of nature she is celebrating but her independence. She is learning to walk. As she continues down the path she sings. Even though she is struggling, she finds peace. And for this simple blessing I am grateful.

For more about my journey with Zoe..Download edited2amothersinstinct_2.doc