ROY -- Brooke Nelson McArthur, 22, doesn't know what the big deal is. She's just doing what she has always done -- living a full and good life without legs.
She has been married for three years to Clayton, graduated from cosmetology school, been working part-time at Trace Minerals as an account specialist, enjoys hunting and being in the outdoors, and keeps busy raising Travis, her 9-month old son.
So why are people staring at her?
In 1989, Brooke's mother, Carol Nelson, was expecting her fourth baby when her doctor sent her to a specialist for an extra ultrasound, uncommon at the time. The specialist then sent her to the hospital for another ultrasound.
They were having trouble seeing the baby's legs.
"They could only see part of the femur," Nelson said. "They weren't sure where the other parts where at. But there wasn't anything else. They thought it was maybe because she was hiding between my pelvic bones, wedged between my bones. I was in denial."
When Brooke entered the world, the delivery doctor made an almost prophetic pronouncement.
"(The doctor) said, 'First of all, Carol, no free dinner because it's a girl,' because he had made the right gender guess. Then he proceeded to tell me, 'Other than the missing limbs, she's beautiful and perfect in every way.' Then they whisked her off to the neonatal unit."
No legs, but certainly beautiful and perfect in her shrug-your-shoulders, "it's just life" attitude.
Since she was little, Brooke has done pretty much everything anyone else can do -- she just does it differently.
"I was concerned about her future," Nelson said of her thoughts at seeing the complete absence of a left leg and a partial right femur that formed a nub instead of a leg.
"How would she get around? I was concerned if she would get along with other kids, if she would be able to function. I was concerned with each step along the way," Nelson said.
"Would she ever be able to sit up? And she did. Would she ever be able to crawl? Well, she did. Would she ever be able to go to school with mainstream kids? How would she get on the bus?"
No stinky feet
Despite her worries, Nelson said, Brooke adapted and molded an attitude about legs being overrated.
"I don't think I have ever heard her complain about not having legs," Nelson said. "She says she doesn't have to worry about stinky feet or shaving her legs. And that's her attitude. She thinks feet are gross."
Brooke's father, Blair, remembers feeling some uncertainty but an overall peace as he walked through the hospital halls with his fit-in-your-palm baby Brooke.
"I made the commitment right then, as soon as she was born, that she would be treated just as equal as anyone else," Blair said. "I didn't want to treat her real special and make her timid.
"I remember telling her when she was 3 or 4, 'There's nothing that can restrict you if you decide you can do something.' That was probably the wrong thing to tell her," he said, laughing and recalling how his fondly termed "half-kid" has attacked life full-on.
"She always went real fast. She played softball. She did as much as she could within reason. She learned to swim at a really young age. She enjoys hunting."
When Brooke was about 4 or 5, sister Tisha Morley remembers being a typical big sister and putting Brooke off when she asked for a drink.
"I told her, 'Well, you can't get it yourself. I'll get it in a minute.' She pushed the chair all the way over, climbed up on the chair, climbed up on the counter, got the cup down, pushed it all the way over to the sink and got her drink," Morley said.
"It was at that point that I realized you can't ever tell her she can't do something.
"Even when we were little, people would meet Brooke and say to me, 'She goes to school?' Well, yeah. 'How does she get around?' Well, she like walks/crawls. 'Like, on her hands? How does she reach stuff?' She climbs. I don't know. It's funny, she asks people for help, but for the most part, she does it herself," Morley said.
"I just don't like to be told that I can't do something," Brooke said.
"I never have. I never will. I'm sure there are a lot of people that are like that. But if someone says, 'Oh, that might be hard for you.' I'll be like, 'Wanna bet?' ââ"
Always a way
Brooke said it doesn't happen as much now, but people have questioned her abilities. She just shrugs and sets about life in her own way.
Like the time during a physical education class when she was in a chin-up contest.
She knocked out 20 to one boy's 10, and he complained that it was only because she was so light. So she put on her prosthetic legs and punched out another 10.
Or like the time she told her high school counselor she wanted to cut hair and was told it might be hard to be on her feet all day.
She used a stool.
Or the time a nurse told her mom that Brooke would never have kids. She delivered a healthy 8-pound, 14-ounce boy.
"I can do pretty much anything," Brooke said. "It's just different."
Brooke has a few adaptations that help her maneuver in the world of the bipedal -- hand controls in her vehicles, a hinge on the crib front that swings down and a few stools strategically placed around the house that help her reach things.
That's about it though.
"I do have prosthetics. I wore them until I was about 15. I haven't worn them since," she said, citing the uncomfortable nature of sitting in a bucket with titanium metal legs connected to her butt and what she calls her right nub.
"I get around a lot faster without them."
Nelson said they thought Brooke would use the prosthetics her whole life, but after seeing Brooke do all the things that she worried wouldn't be possible, including playing softball and having a baby, she doesn't underestimate her daughter.
"Now when she says she wants to do stuff, I say, 'OK.' I don't question her."
Brooke's husband, Clayton, is also amazed at his wife, especially since they've had Travis.
"There's nothing normal for her that she can do like everyone else, from doing laundry to everything else. It's different," Clayton said.
"When we first met, I was amazed at all the things she could do, but she adapts really well, and I'm a little desensitized to it now. Some things it shocks me she can do.
"Like when she first had our baby and carried him up and down our stairs. She never complained, but it can't be easy. A lot of stuff I dread or hate, and think, 'Man, how am I going to do that?'
"But she manages just fine. She loads him in the car every morning and all that stuff. It's pretty amazing to me, because I have trouble getting him in and out of the car seat."
Clayton said their kids won't be able to indulge in self-pity.
"When you're a kid, you always tell your mom, 'Oh, I can't do that,' or 'I don't know how to do that.' And that won't fly with her. It will be, 'Yeah, you can do that.' Because she's pretty much taught herself how to do everything different than anyone else can do it."
Hips and torso
Brooke swings herself gracefully using her hands and torso to the top of the stairs in her split-level house. Travis and Jodi, her year-old niece, are racing up the stairs to her.
"I should have a treat for the winner!" Brooke exclaims, urging them on.
When Travis reaches for her, she puts him on her hip and carries him to his room. After a quick diaper and clothes change on a mat on the floor as she coos to him, she carries him down the stairs on her hip, and when he giggles as she moves down the stairs, she emphasizes the motion, bumping down the stairs with her torso.
"I really think a lot of it (my attitude) is the way I was raised," Brooke said.
"(My LDS religion) helped me realize that Heavenly Father gives everyone trials, and things don't happen to people because he hates you. He doesn't give you anything you can't handle, and that's how my parents taught me."
She pops Travis into his highchair, climbs up on a chair and feeds him cereal.
"I'm just going to bore people to death," Brooke said, laughing at her seemingly mundane life.
"This is my every morning. We watch 'The Price is Right' and eat breakfast, then Trav has his nap and I get ready for work.
"My whole thing is, I don't consider myself different because I've never been treated that way," she continued. "I've always had really good friends and really good family that have always just treated me normal, so I've always just felt that way."
Brooke is constantly in action, chasing Travis through the day (her "marathon without a finish line"), cooking, cleaning, working, cutting the hair of friends and family, squeezing her runaway dog back through the fence.
"I'll talk in (LDS Church) wards and do firesides every once in a while, and it just makes me laugh that people want me to do that," Brooke said.
"I don't understand. I don't feel like there's anything special about me. Everybody has their own trial in life, so this was just my trial, and now to me, it's not even a trial any more.
"It's just my life. It's the only way I know."