“Should we be worried about him?”
Steve looks up from his medical journal and stares at me. “What do you mean?”
“Well, look at him,” I say, gesturing to Aiden who’s crawling around on the floor.
“What’s wrong with him,” Steve says, clearly not getting the point.
“He turned one year old last week.”
“Yes,” Steve replies. “I know. I was at his party and everything.”
“So shouldn’t Aiden be walking by now?”
Steve puts his journal down and gets up to sit with me on the floor. He watches Aiden playing with his toys for a minute before sighing.
“Joey, there’s nothing wrong with him. Believe me, I would know if something were wrong with him.”
“I know you take care of him and everything. And you’re a great doctor, but I’ve read the literature and they say he should be waking by now.”
“It’s true that most babies are walking by now, but it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with him. He crawls well. It could just be that he doesn’t want to walk now. He will.”
“So when do we worry?”
“If he doesn’t start walking in four months, then we can worry a little.”
“Joey. Aiden is a healthy little boy. He’ll walk when he’s ready.”
Steve kisses the top of my head as he gets up to start dinner. But somehow, his calm demeanor wasn’t helping me to feel better at all.
More than a week after that first talk, nothing changed. Aiden still isn’t walking and I’m more nervous than ever. But what’s even more infuriating is the fact that Steve isn’t worried at all. I hate it when I am freaking out over something and he’s as cool as a cucumber. Hell, even Aiden is still his happy, smiling self. And I’m a nervous wreck. Not okay.
“Joey, I’m telling you. Aiden is fine.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Yes, I do. He’s fine.”
I shoot Steve a death glare, which he returns with a head shake and fond smile. Standing up from the couch, I go over to Aiden, who’s playing on the floor.
“Come on, baby.”
Gently picking him up, I set him on his feet, holding his hands to keep him steady. I try to get Aiden to walk with my supporting him. He takes a few shaky steps, but it’s clear he would fall if not for me holding him.
We walk for a little bit before Aiden loses interest and starts to whine. I pick him up and kiss him before setting him back down with his toys.
By the time Aiden turns thirteen months old, I’m a nervous wreck. I am convinced there’s something wrong with my son and it’s killing me. Now whenever Steve and I sit in the living room, relaxing after a long day, I can’t even read or work on my laptop. All I can do is watch Aiden, praying he will walk.
“Joey, did you hear anything I just said?”
“Huh,” I reply, not really paying attention.
“What,” I say, turning away from Aiden to look at Steve.
“You haven’t heard one thing I just said, have you?”
“No,” I sigh. “I’m sorry. It’s just…”
“I know. You’re still worried about him.”
“I don’t understand how you can be so calm.”
Steve shrugs. “I don’t know. I guess it’s just because I know this is within the range of normal. I see things that worry me medically every day. Aiden doesn’t worry me.”
“I know. I’m paranoid.”
“No, you’re a concerned parent. It’s okay.”
“I guess. Now what were you saying?”
“Lucas and Hal want to do another double date soon. I’m sure my parents will babysit.”
“Okay. Just talk to your parents first and we can work it out.”
“I’ll call them tomorrow. Oh and Joey?”
“Is this where I get to say I told you so?”
I give him a puzzled look, not getting the point. Steve just smiles and nods towards Aiden.
I turn to see Aiden standing up on his little legs, clearly getting ready to try something. Could this finally be it?
Tears welling in my eyes, I get off the couch and sit on the floor. Resting on my knees, I open my arms to my son, who’s only a few feet away.
“Come on, Aiden. Walk to Daddy.”
Aiden is focusing on his feet, clearly trying to figure out how to do this. Steve gets down too, wrapping an arm around me.
“Come on, Aiden,” Steve echoes. “You can do this.”
As if that was all the encouragement Aiden needed, he slowly moved his foot up and lowered it a little bit in front of him. Tears start to fall from my eyes as Aiden takes a few shaky steps towards us.
After four little steps, Aiden’s feet get tangled up and he falls forward. I reach out and scoop him up before he can hit the floor. Peppering his face with kisses, I hold Aiden tight.
“See? I told you he was fine.”
“Shut up,” I mutter.
Steve just laughs before joining me in congratulating Aiden with kisses and hugs.
I blow out a sigh of relief. Aiden is okay. He might have been a little slow, but he’s healthy and walking. What more could I want?
And there’s Part 24! I hope you all enjoyed it. Especially since this will be the last new post for two weeks. I’m going on vacation and will not be around to give you a new story. But don’t forget you can always catch up on my past free reads here. See you in June!