How many times have you held your perfect little baby in your arms and looked at him in complete awe. Some part of you knew then like the first moments when in the most impossible release you brought that babe into the world that he had come straight from God. Part of you was in awe the other part of you would have given anything to look into that baby’s memories and try yourself for one sweet moment to remember home.
Then what happens? They grow up on you and suddenly that sweet innocence seems to drift away and you long for it again, for those moments when you felt so close to God. I remember holding Sam in my arms that first time after the whole world of visitors had gone home. The hospital was quiet and he had woken up for his first midnight feeding. I remember the most perfect moment when everything was still and for one sweet night he was mine and all mine alone. I remember looking down at him and feeling the sense of the greatness that I held in my arms and wondering how God could entrust such perfection to me, someone so far from perfect.
When Sam got older and learned to smile and toddle around, even talk and hold very simple conversations even then he was what one might call serious and a deep thinker. I remember when he was about three possibly four my father laying on the grass and Sam and Steph were climbing all over him and my dad saying to Sam, “Sam, smile for me.” And Sam in the most serious of expressions, lines drawn and brows furled said, “I am smiling.” We laughed then as we still do now when we think back to that. Sam so little and chubby and so serious, not unhappy just of serious nature.
Sam is still very serious. His questions are so deep that sometimes I marvel at them and his understanding of right and wrong, no grey, make me wonder how he can be so certain when he is so little. I think maybe he really is more close to perfection than I am. Perhaps in the spirit world he obtained more holiness than me, perhaps he was just a little more prepared beforehand than I was. Who knows? But sometimes I still have to laugh at my little boy who at times can be so serious.
On Thursday they had a spelling bee for Sam’s First Grade. Now, although we had the list of words months in advance, we didn’t study one second, not once. Great mother right? Sam aces everything at school. He is well beyond many years of what he should be in reading, he’s been doing multiplication since kindergarten when he asked me what is was when you had three threes and they equal nine, what was that called. He does division now and reads Harry Potter and spells all of his older sister’s spelling words with no problem. So of course, the lazy mom that I am, and in keeping with my other children who had no desire to be in the spelling bee, we didn’t practice once. So imagine my surprise when I received the email from Sam’s teacher inviting me to the spelling bee of the top fourteen spellers in his grade.
There Sam sat in that small elementary school library, all of his fellow classmates sitting on the floor to watch Sam and thirteen others duel it out in a spelling contest, Sam’s legs twitching nervously under his seat. The principal explained the rules and then reminded the kids that the top five got five dollars each. One by one it went down the line, sterner and more serious grew Sam’s face and faster twittled his feet until it was his turn. Then, up he popped, looked at me, no smile on his face, and repeated the word, letters flying out swiftly and clearly until he was back down in his seat a look of relief on his face. It carried on like this each round while more and more children were spelled out until Sam was in the top five. Then miraculously Sam’s whole demeanor calmed and a smile spread across his face and he relaxed and had fun.
In the end, despite my awful parenting, my little serious boy took First Place. Number one speller in the First Grade with his two best friends following right after. When I asked him how it felt, if he was happy to have won he said, “I just wanted the five dollars, then I didn’t care. I’m rich!”
I can’t help but wonder what he will become when he grows up. Will he be the pharmacist like he professes he will? I guess it doesn’t matter much as long as he continues on with his desire to learn and learn more. But most importantly I hope he always holds to his right and wrong with no grey areas, I hope he can always hold to the greatness that I felt the very first night that I held him in my arms.