It’s my favorite number, squared.
It’s the number of innings in my favorite sport.
It’s the number of months (approximately) a baby gestates.
It’s the number of lives a cat enjoys.
It’s the number of squares in a game of tic-tac-toe.
It’s the number of planets I grew up with (sorry, Pluto, we miss you).
It’s an expression — dressed to the nines! — for looking fabulous, for going the distance — the whole 9 yards — and, if you’re on cloud nine, you might feel as I do today, celebrating my firstborn’s ninth year. Happy birthday, Ben!