I told Benjamin before leaving on vacation that he wasn't allowed to start walking while I was away. He was so close before we left. He would take a step or two between the couches, mostly propelled by momentum he had already gathered from speeding along holding onto the couch.
But today he actually let go, gathered his balance, and then simply walked! He let go of the couch and took six or seven steps right toward me. Well, I say toward me, but really it was toward the spoonful of sweet potatoes I held in my hand. Isn't it funny that it was food that propelled him to take those steps! Once he saw my ecstatic reaction, he thought it was hilarious, and loved the attention. He quickly returned to the couch, turned about and walked to me again. Over and over he repeated the action, basking in the laughter and smiles and cheering from all of us.
First it was five or six steps, but as the evening went on he found his balance and walked greater distances. At one point, he went from the middle of the living room all the way to me in the kitchen! He has even found his balance at the end of the steps, not always falling to the floor, but managing to stop and stay standing.
Just like that, he steps into toddlerhood. My baby is growing up!