I think it was just a few months ago that Mike and I had our last baby.
He's now 18 years old, a legal adult.
He's 6'3" ...... at least!
How did that happen so fast?
Sam was a baby named by committee. At the time he was born Ben was 8 yrs old and Maria was 12. They had a lot of opinions about names as we discussed them. When discussing a boy's name, there were lots of vetoes. With many of the names Mike or I suggested, the older kids were very good at making up sassy nicknames or irritating rhyming names for the baby. OK, I admit, I did the same with some of the suggestions. Anyway, it helped us avoid names that would give future bullies a better chance at irritating him. However, it also took a looooooong time to figure out what we'd name him if he were a baby boy. Just a few weeks before delivery I said, "What about Sam?" We were all riding in the car and all I heard was silence, no complaints, no annoying nicknames. So, Sam it was.
Sam was also raised by committee. His siblings helped us a lot with our parenting responsibilities. Maybe they thought we were too advanced in age to manage it ourselves. I'm sure it was fun for Sam to have everyone bossing him around and giving him advice. That really hasn't changed. Actually, I believe Sam always has and hopefully always will know that he is surrounded by those who love him.
Sam has been a quirky and delightful child to raise! He was great at "imaginating". This was Sam acting out the moves from characters in video games. I sometimes received strange looks while walking through Walmart with a 2 yr old boy following me making laser sounds or something, while kicking and hacking the space around himself.
Sam is smart and fun and has a sense of humor much like Mike's, dry wit. It is as though they compete for the joke that elicits the biggest groans. Sam can definitely hold his own in any groaner contest!
But at a very young age Sam also demonstrated the ability to understand human nature. He often noted people's sadness and fears when he was just a preschooler. He offered a quiet kindness toward others that I often felt was astonishingly sweet. He's always had a soft spot for the "underdog". He always tried to avoid hurting others.
Sam will probably be mad at me for telling this story, but at the end of Jr. High we received a letter stating that he'd been nominated for an award, to be announced at an award ceremony the next week. It is a good thing we received the letter first as Sam wanted to avoid the ceremony altogether. We forced him to attend. He actually won 5 or 6 awards that night. He was called to the stage so many times he was embarrassed. The award that really made us most proud, though, was, the "Kindness Award". The recipient was chosen by the student body as well as the teachers. Sam had been absent the day the voting occurred and did not even know there was such an award.
We could not have been more proud!
Now, at 18, Sam is a college student with many paths opening up before him. I think it is probably a stressful time, with many adult decisions suddenly upon him, but I know Sam will live a life of integrity.
Sam will continue to make us proud.
Happy birthday, Sammer!