Sammy's still my baby. My 7 year old baby.
It's Sammy's birthday today. He's seven. He's seven already. How did this happen? I just had him, what was that, last fall? He's seven. And he's come a long way this year. Just two weeks ago we took the training wheels off and he got the hang of riding his bike around the ball field, confidently telling me, "I don't need you to hold on anymore. I can do this!" And he's off.
He's always been tenacious like this. He has this stubborn streak in him that will hammer at some kind of skill until he gets it. Sometimes his stubborness makes me crazy, but overall it will serve him well. But he is, as many of my friends who know him, an old soul. You can see it in the way he gets (and uses sarcasm). You can see it in the way he finds and meets friends. You can see it in the care and gentleness with which he approaches animals. There's a wise old man in there, but he's still my baby.
He doesn't even mind when I refer to him as my baby. He still will accept a hug or a cuddle at night and he cannot contain his thrill at things like amusement parks, surprises, and of course, his own birthday. He's overcome with joy that all his buddies can make it to his birthday party. Joy, I tell you, joy. You'd think Spiderman himself was coming the way he reacted every time a positive RSVP came through. He lives to crack the eggs into the cake I baked for him. (Mostly because that's a skill he masterd this year -- took him forever, but there's that tenacious streak again.)
And what a year it's been. He can ride a bike. He can skate (roller and ice). He's tall enough to ride all but a handful of rides at Six Flags -- and he grew the balls to ride them. (Although that first run on the Viper was a bit dicey...). He's reading well and he can write his name in cursive, so now he has a library card. He can add and subtract, and he can count his money. (Lord, can he count his money!). He can shoot baskets and he understands the game of hoops well enough to enjoy (or not, depending on which game you hit) the Bucks foray into the playoffs this year. He wants to learn how to play the drums, and he wants to learn Tae Kwon Do. But he's still my baby.
He's my last baby, so I savor those moments -- that first time he rode the bike, all wobbly but nevertheless rode it -- by himself; him stepping up to bat and whacking the living daylights out of that T-ball as though he were Prince Fielder himself.
He still has that heart I've bragged about, that heart the size of Lake Michigan, that heart that shows his concern for the well being for any mammal that crosses his path. He's just, fundamentally a good guy. Every night, I tuck him in and tell him how glad I am that he's my kid. And it's not just to give him self-esteem and such. I mean it. I'm really glad he's my kid .Because one minute he's mouthing off and being basass to some bear at the zoo (and he IS a badass), and the next, well, he's still my baby. I just love him.
Happy birthday Sammy! I'm so glad you're my kid!