Counting by Tens

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Ten fingers.

Ten toes.

A Perfect 10 wiggling about at the end of his folded limbs.

We started out counting by “tens” from the day we first spotted those digits in an ultrasound, the unmistakable black and white shadows gracefully beckoning us with their fluid motions, seeming to wave “hello,” then tightly clenched fists drawn inward, nestled into his chest, in that liquid space he resided for ten months, as we waited impatiently and then patiently for him.

And now, ten months after the day he quietly made his grand entrance — all ten pounds of him — I can hardly believe he’s been on the outside as long as he was once on the inside.

He arrived in the early morning hours of a hot, dry September day, beneath the biggest, brightest full moon of the year, a moon that became his middle namesake, the day that came the day after the ten year anniversary of an unfathomable tragedy still fresh in our collective hearts, a date I specifically remember because I lived in that exact city on that exact day, ten years earlier.

As much as I wanted him to arrive, I also wanted him to wait.

When my Labor Day due date quickly came and passed and I hadn’t started laboring, I secretly hoped he’d be born on any date other than that date, the date that will forever be associated with terror and suffering. I didn’t want him to share his birthday — a joyous occasion — with the date that was all too fresh in my mind, even ten years later. So when the tenth came, followed by the eleventh, I held my breath.

He arrived the next day.

He’s so quiet that at times, we lose track of him, only to find him in a corner happily entertaining himself with blocks or any object he’s turned into a toy for the moment. He’s also a quiet eater, feeding himself with his hands like a white-gloved lady who lunches, dainty, with manners.

In the past two weeks he’s officially become a walker, gingerly making his way across the living room floor, stiff and zombie-like, arms outstretched to keep his balance. When he’s in a hurry, he still resorts to crawling — a little Komodo Dragon chasing after his much-faster brothers.

Of all my babies, at 9 months, he holds the record for being the earliest walker. His dexterity continues to amaze me as he masters his fine motor skills. He holds a cup with ease, is attempting to use a spoon to eat and is discovering a few of the toys his brothers are tinkering with, Lincoln Logs and LEGOS scattered across our living room like shrapnel.

At ten months, my love for him has grown tenfold since that hot September day we welcomed him into our arms and into our hearts.

Happy Ten Months, my little mooncake. You were well worth the wait.

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