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A Walker, the Breakers, and Me

A Walker, the Breakers, and Me

The waves broke with force as the cousins braved the churning water. I watched from the ocean’s edge, confined by my body’s limitations. Our yearly family beach trek was almost over and I hadn’t ventured beyond the bubbling foam that washed over my toes. Longing built.

Seated in my favorite beach chair, ankle braces and a hip stabilizer supported my weak joints. Simply walking across the sand required aid, so just before we left on our trip this year, I grabbed my steel gray walker, hoping it would ease my trek to the ocean.

And it did.

While I still couldn’t enjoy my favorite spot every day, the walker made it much easier to be close to family as they built castles, swam in the ocean, and tanned under the hot sun. I felt like part of the gang again.

My legs betrayed me almost ten years ago, in my late thirties. Weak muscles and messed up nerves left me unable to climb mountains, let alone survive a grocery store run. Tests indicated a mitochondrial disorder was to blame, meaning my body doesn’t power like it should. When I live in strict boundaries, I look normal. But when I venture outside their confines, my legs move forward in awkward strides.

So making memories with my boys became a constant challenge. But looking back it’s clear that the biggest obstacle to those memories was my inability to accept help—help from others—or medical equipment like walkers and wheelchairs. My independent soul wanted to live life with my family outside the walls of my home, but a inner turmoil kept me bound.

Time softened my pride. A yearning to enjoy moments with greater ease led me to purchase my first rolling walker only days before a beach trip a few years earlier. And this summer, I trekked across the sand with the gray kind without wheels, stabilized and thankful for the way it assisted each step.

But as I stared at the rolling waves, I longed to feel the water wash over me again. Knowing my oldest son sat nearby I turned and asked, “What do you think about helping me into the waves?”

“Are you sure?” his asked, making question my resolve.

“Yes, I’m sure,” I finally replied.

With that, he stood and walked with me and my walker to where the breaking waves forced me to hold the handles tight. I couldn’t boogey board or dive beneath the surface like when he was young. But a surge of joy swept through me with each wave until Nathan said, “Had enough yet, Mom?”

Aware of my limitations and his concern we maneuvered back to the beach.

While I’ll never be the active mom I once was, accepting my limitations—and a little help—allows for memories now that make me feel alive and a part of the family I love.

By: Susan Schreer Davis is a  writer, singer, formerly widowed mom, now remarried! She loves butterflies, white sand beaches, long days at the shore, hugs from my boys, clean toilets, and whispy curtains draped to my bedroom floor. Visit her at http://www.susanschreerdavis.comor at her blog

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.


  1. Oh, such important lessons there, Susan. We all need each other. And while it’s hard to be on the receiving end, it helps me to remember what it feels like to help someone and receive their genuine gratitude. So touching to see the photo of you and your son enjoying the ocean! So glad you asked him! Wonderful to find you here on Just 18 Summers! I look forward to more of your words of wisdom!

    • Well, I’m quite humbled to be here. Thanks for your kind word, Deborah. Yes, I love that photo of my son. He’s been a rock through a great deal of turmoil. And yes, we need each other. Learning to receive has changed me.

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