I walk to pick up my kids at school most days. It's tricky to walk and have a conversation at the same time for me, so I go very slowly and lean on my cane at lot. But on the weekend, I try to squeeze in a walk alone. That way, I can concentrate completely on my gait: am I walking evenly? Can I push myself to walk faster? Am I remembering to swing my right arm?
But even on weekends, sometimes the only way I can get a walk is to have my seven-year-old daughter tagging along. She chatters on, making me wish that my walking could be more automatic, so that I could have a real conversation with her. But instead, I'm rather stern: please don't walk right beside me, I say, because there isn't room for me, my cane, and you; please don't walk right in front of me, I say, so I won't trip.
A few weeks ago she accompanied me, and I strongly suggested that she walk behind me on the narrow sidewalk, so I could concentrate. So she did, but she still kept a running commentary.
"Oh Mommy," I heard her voice, " you're not using your cane much! Good job, Mommy!"
A few steps later, she commented,
"Mommy, you're walking almost normally!" Then she observed a little bit more.
"Actually, Mommy, you walk a little like a robot."
Almost normal mother. Robot mother. Watched mother.
7 hours ago