A little more than six weeks shy of his second birthday, my son took his first solo stand.
It was only for a sustained moment and more like a squat, but he enthusiastically planted two feet and pulled his pot belly up above his knees while lifting his trunk and grinning with accomplishment and delight.
Raphael repeated the feat about four dozen times to much applause and giggling until he could barely do more than splat on his face, his arms too tired to catch his fall.
Greg, Eli, and I gleefully cheered him on, but somehow, Raphael seemed prouder of himself than I (with literal tears of joy) was of him.
And why is this such a big deal?
Because Raphael has Down syndrome.
Because he has worked so ridiculously hard to combat gravity and floppy muscles to do the things most of us take for granted.
Because his physical therapist, Jill – whom we affectionally call Jill Sergeant for how hard she drills our kid – might even stop for half a second to celebrate before presenting the next more daunting gross motor challenge.
Because in the dark recesses of my mind, I worried that my son might never walk – a real, even if unlikely, possibility.
Because Raphael’s interminable demands to ride that darn, noisy rocking horse have paid off in increased core strength and stability.
Because when Elijah, our amazingly articulate and fascinatingly typical boy, hit every single developmental gain early, we felt like throwing a party, but when Raphael hits a milestone, it’s a freakin parade.
So if you’d like to take a stand and join our little celebration, chime in and tell me how you liked this clip.