23 Years

Tomorrow my firstborn will celebrate his 23rd birthday. Earlier today my daughter asked me how old I felt having a child turn 23 to which I responded that I felt like I was 23. Of course, she said that was impossible, that at minimum I would have to be 39.

One thing that doesn’t seem to change with the passing of the years is the parental worry that you’re doing a good job. Will there ever come a time when I stop thinking that I’m completely botching the job of being a parent? All of my children are essentially adults now, but they will always be my children. I will always love them, worry over them, pray for them, encourage and support them, cheer them on and hope the best for them…and always wonder if I’ve made too many mistakes along the way.

Sam takes after me much more than he does his father. He is most definitely an introvert, which means that his extroverted father doesn’t always understand him or how he ticks.

Sam is one of the pickiest eaters I know, and it isn’t always easy to understand the ways his palate changes. As a young child he would eat a lot of things, but many of those things will never touch his lips now. I could understand growing to enjoy things later in life, because I don’t mind eating some things now that I didn’t like as a child. But Sam’s food likes have diminished with the years. His idea of the four food groups is Subway, pizza, spaghetti and tacos. We’re having tacos tonight to celebrate his birthday, because tomorrow is a busy day.

Sam is passionate about hockey. He likes a variety of sports, but his main focus is hockey even though he no longer plays it. I miss watching him play hockey and baseball and tennis. He still plays racquetball, but we don’t often get the opportunity to watch. Sam has a natural athleticism and rhythm.

Sam doesn’t always say very much, but it is impossible to get him to do something that he does not want to do. Trust me! We’ve tried. Peer pressure doesn’t work on Sam, and I suppose that is a good thing.

He might deny it and there are times when we might not see it, but Sam can be very thoughtful. He has always put a good deal of thought into choosing his Christmas gifts. Getting him to give me a hug might be almost impossible, but I see his love in his thoughtfulness and generosity at Christmas. He likes to think that he’s tough, but he’s really a big softy.

Happy birthday, Samuel! I’m going to do my best to force you to let me give you a hug tonight and again tomorrow. Can I hold your Dairy Queen ice cream cake hostage until you do? And it isn’t creepy at all that I come into your room every night while you are sleeping, pick you up and rock you as I sing a song about how I love you forever. Every parent does that, right?


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