I can't believe it is 18 years. It really did go by so very quickly. Having now gotten two to legal adulthood, I have a working theory that you can tell a lot about what kind of an adult you will end up with just by how they are during infancy. While Calvin was always fearless, aggressive and strong willed (all qualities he has learned to use for good), Sam was always quieter, gentler and more on the prayerful/ thinking side. Even in the womb, I got the sense that Sam was quietly listening and trying to figure out the world around him. Which turned out to be a lucky thing too, because as it turns out, Sam had a true knot in his umbilical cord.
The luck of the Irish from his McGurk Grandmother I guess.
Sam was named for my great Uncle Sam, the brother of my grandfather. Uncle Sam had a quick wit and mischievious twinkle in his eye with lips that perpetually turned upwards and a hearty sincere laugh always on the ready. Known for joking around and friendly merry making, I loved Uncle Sam very much. And so my Sam was named for him.
His middle name was in honor of my former brother-in-law, Thomas. It was my way of honoring my sister, letting my BIL know that we truly thought of him as part of the family, and of showing lots of continuity and affection on the family tree. Since the divorce, I wonder if my BIL even remembers that, or if it had more meaning for me and Mr. Pete than it ever did for him.
Nonetheless sharing biblical names with Samuel, the great prophet and Thomas the doubting apostle has given Sam a lot of time to reflect on the lessons of these two men. Samuel the servant of God who says, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening," in contrast to Thomas who has to see to believe. At this point in his life I still see more of the former than the latter in Sam. I hope that he can always keep that. I hope that we have given him enough example and education in his Catholic faith that he can always have that to guide and sustain him.
What I love about my Sam is his nurturing spirit and his creativity. He was always the older brother that comforted his younger siblings. The day Gabe was born in my living room, Sam came down from his nap and was so excited to find a new baby there. His first question was, "Whose baby?" followed by, "Can we keep him?" Keep him we did. And I love the fact that Sam and Gabe are close friends, going just about everywhere together and even performing together in their rock band.
When Izzy was born 15 months after Noah, I recall hearing Sam tell Noah, "Don't worry Noah, you are still a baby too and I will take care of you." And he does. Sam has been great with the girls too and Rosie adores him.
New challenges await. Sam has a driver's license now, but he doesn't abuse the privilege and has even been very helpful going to the store and helping me to drive his siblings around. I am very grateful for that. He is working out his last year of high school and has even managed to get 6 college credits banked from CLEP testing via College Plus! He wants to do a senior recital with piano and guitar, possibly organ, with a reception afterwards. And while I am a little anxious for him, I think the future looks very bright..
Hapy 18th birthday Sam. I love you.