Joanna Rose Takes Her First Steps

We sat, cozy, in the rocker,

grandmother and granddaughter,

gliding along with ''Mother Goose''

until you slithered away in

a quick Houdini move.

The whole room shimmied as you took

those first stuttering steps

that quickened as you went,

as if you were afraid the rapture

would fade before you got to the shiny

something that had caught your eye.

Your parents and I were frozen

in amazement, then clapping, cheering

as you reached the small white

book, its cover dazzling like

high-gloss enamel. But the light

left your eyes as you flipped

through it. No Little Jack Horner,

no ''Rock-a-Bye Baby,'' no cow jumping

over the moon, only restaurant

buy-one-get-one-free coupons,

not worth a second look.

Your face looked puzzled by our

excitement. I wanted to tell you

(and so much needed to remind myself)

that it didn't matter that the shiny

something turned out to be nothing,

that sometimes splendor happens

along the way, as we lift one foot

after the other, moving toward

what stirs our hearts.

In the following days I realized

how much you had bolstered my

faith in the powers above, how much

you had lightened my footsteps.

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