Saturday, November 15, 2008

Coming of Age

I am not known for the quality of my memory. I do remember the night when Samuel was born, 12 years ago, yesterday. The doctor saying, "You've got a towhead, there! His first cries. My first words: "Hello, Buddy!" Walking out into the air, about 2 or so in the morning, looking up at the stars, and feeling the earth shifting under my feet, and the distinct realization that everything had changed. The pediatrician, eying him for the first time, saying "You've got a week-old baby there." Yeah, he was late. I can't say that I blame him. He's always known a good thing when he sees it.

Samuel means "God Heard." He was an answer to prayer, the culmination of so many complex threads and events that had proceeded him. We weave those threads, good and bad, on a daily basis, some on purpose, some without our desire and even control. Samuel was, and is, our best declaration that life was worth living and investing in. The process of enabling Samuel laid the groundwork for what was to follow.

I used to joke, before I had them, that parents got the children that they deserved. It, of course, is not up to any of us to make that judgement, but we sure deserved Samuel. Through the alchemy of nature and nurture, he is that mixture of what we are, are not, and what we want to be.

Sam is sharp. He is funny - he has to be to survive around his dad. My biggest problem with him has been that, because he's so smart, he's had to endure more than his share of my sarcasm - and I've had to be reminded, time and again, that he's still a boy. A 5 foot-6 boy whose nearly-adult voice made me shudder when I spoke with him on the telephone the other day. He's terrific at math - he has to get that from his Mother. He, without my knowledge or approval, chose to play the cello. I approve, it just, well, startled me (it was my first instrument of choice). I can't play computer games against him, because he embarrasses me in front of his friends. I suppose I deserve that. He has an incredible imagination and can write stunningly descriptive fiction. He is compassionate, and he both sees and steps up to help those in need. He loves his sister, through all of the complications that she presents to his daily life. He's had to learn some things that many never will. He has my ultimate respect for these things.

There's still a lot for all four of us to do, and I've been struck with the growing sense of our time getting shorter to do the best that I can do. We both need to work together to make some stuff happen, and it's not going to be easy. Teendom, here we come.

I love you, Samuel. I hope someday you can know the joy that you've brought me.

Happy Birthday, Son.

Sam's 12 from Jeff Goble on Vimeo