As a child, I tip-toed.
Not just through the house on Christmas morning, but always. It was my trademark, my "funny characteristic" that made people notice (and often make fun of) me. It got to the point that my mother and grandmother decided it was time to find out why, exactly, I was walking on my toes. They refused to believe me when I said that it was a "sign" I should take ballet classes. Nope--instead, they sent me to tap dancing classes and to a foot doctor named Dr. Dunlap.
Those years of visiting Dr. Dunlap were sort of grim for me. Not just because I was convinced, as they were, that something was wrong with me, but also because of the medical hoopla I went through. For a while, I wore these awful-looking braces on my legs. They were flesh colored like a band aid and made me want to cry, even as an unfashionable, frizzy little girl.
I also had an MRI done. I will admit that I'm thankful that this prodedure was done when I was little, and had yet to develop the anxiety that I now have in small spaces! I clearly remember lying in that silent vessel, almost like a tomb. There was a mirror inside and I stared into my own eyeballs, wondering....
But as it turned out, there was nothing wrong with me. "It's just a habit!" the doctor finally told my family. My mother and grandmother became more, instead of less, frustrated with me after learning this. Since it was not an underlying medical issue, they decided it was within my control to stop my toe-walking mayhem.
"Do you know the song, "Tip Toe through the Tulips?" my grandmother irritably asked me one day. "Is that what you want people to sing about you?"
I didn't know.
Years passed, and eventually, little by little, I outgrew walking on my toes. Nowadays, I still have a rather flouncy walk, but my heel is definitely more involved than it was when I was under age 10. I thought about my history of toe-walking this afternoon, at my friend Sarah's house, while reading Parents magazine. A concerned parent had written, asking if her toddler was "normal" despite tippy toes.
So I googled toe walking and I read an article that proclaimed it to be often habitual, as mine was.
Toe walking often has no cause, said the article. This is referred to as habitual, or idiopathic, toe walking.
Sometimes, we just do things without any reason. I'll never fully know the reason that I tip-toed as a child.
But it did make for careful silence on Christmas morning.