We took a walk this evening. It's become something of a ritual these days... not that it happens every day, but several times during the week. We live about half a mile from Sonic, where I can quench my left-over pregnancy craving of ice for a mere 87 cents. I can also wear Oliver in a front pack, which I'm pretty sure burns extra calories... and I'm all for that, because I'm still working off the pregnancy pounds. All of this works well for Matt, who loves both walking and Sweet Green Tea. And so tonight we took a walk. And I began to think about all the walks we have taken... exciting, beautiful and terrifying.
We had been dating for maybe less than a month. I was a junior in college and it was dead winter in Oklahoma.. which means ice. Matt picked me up from the box of a dorm room that I shared with one of my best friends, and together we walked to his car, bundled up in scarves and gloves and coats. To be clear, I was wearing some worn in tennis shoes with very little tread and it is always very slick in front of the Suites when it freezes no matter how much sand and salt they put down. My feet started going different directions and I was gearing up for a faceplant on the pavement when Matt caught me. In that moment I was Julia Roberts in some ridiculous romantic comedy, and Matt was Tom Hanks or Richard Gere. I was absolutely convinced that he thought I did it on purpose, ever the damsel in distress. I silently replayed that moment over and over during dinner both embarrassed and impressed. Matt held my elbow through the rest of that winter anytime we walked out of my dorm. That short walk, from the dorm to the car, was the first time he caught me... and he's been catching me ever since.
Three years later, with tears and smiles and rings on our fingers, we turned and faced a crowd of people we dearly love and took the most amazing walk up the aisle together. Not too fast, not too slow, hand in hand, Husband and Wife. Matt was careful to help me down the steps at the alter... and I, desperate not to trip over the hem of my dress, clung to his arm. He got me up the aisle without so much as a stumble, and saw me safely through the rest of the evening.
Since then there have been extraordinary walks on the beach, and hikes in the Colorado mountains, strolls through Central Park. And there have been ordinary, every day walks through the grocery store, and the mall, and neighborhoods that catch our eye.
And after three years of marriage, I was nine months pregnant and we were walking... oh were we walking. The sidewalks in our neighborhood saw some action those last few weeks of pregnancy. Matt would tie my shoes for me, lock the door behind us, and we would make our way down the street... sometimes taking a break to catch my breath before we even reached the end of the block. And June 16th found us walking the halls of the 5th floor of Mercy Hospital, for two solid hours we walked, waiting for this babe to decide if it was time to be born. Contractions left me breathless and leaning on Matt's chest, my hands locked behind his neck.
And less than twelve hours later, our sweet baby was born. After waiting what felt like an eternity in recovery, and still unable to walk, Matt was given permission to take me to our son who was receiving specialized care. And my sweet husband took me on my most favorite walk yet. He pushed my wheelchair through the doors of the NICU and up to our tiny son, a precious bundle of boy waiting to be held. What an amazing walk.
I love it when you ask me to take a walk. Let's keep walking...