Dear Sam,

Today is your ninth birthday. Nine years and four hours ago, you came into this world and changed my life forever. We have been together for half the time now that it will take for you to get to 18, and "adulthood" as defined by society at large.

I look at you now, and you are this person, this real, big person who takes up nearly the space of an adult but is still so young. When I hug you, it isn't like hugging a little boy anymore. You are in the in-between, no longer so little, but certainly still my little boy in many ways. You want privacy, but in the dead of night, every night, you still crawl into my bed.

Recently I have started leaving you at home by yourself for short periods of time. It is a big deal, and not a big deal. You are fine by yourself and not doing anything different than you would be if I were there. Sometimes if you don't want to run an errand with Danny and I, I just let you stay. I think independence is important.

Another new phenomenon is that you go outside to play. You've made friends with a boy who is in your class and lives in the same condos we do, and he has a sister who is 6. It started with you going down there to play. You walked by yourself, and it's not far, but at the same time the first few times I was a bit nervous. Your range was increasing by a lot considering how little you've explored our neighborhood. At first it was just you and Ashaan but then his sister started to play too, and then, suddenly it was the four of you. And one day, you all said you were going outside to play, and the door shut, your laughter trailing behind you.

It was SO quiet. I'm not used to being in such a quiet house anymore. I stood in the kitchen, and I didn't know what to do with myself. It is freedom, for me, in having a moment to breathe, and for you, in having a world to explore on your own, as your own person.

I still worry about you sometimes. I don't think you've ever been an average kid, not in a lot of ways. You are very smart, and you've always been a bit different. You are a chatterbox, you love to talk. You are still working with the special ed team at school in social skills group. Sometimes, I see it work. You are kind, and you are able to hold your own in a conversation with an adult. Sometimes I think that other kids might think you're weird, but then I remember that most 9 year olds are kind of weird in their own ways.

Things have sure changed since Kindergarten. Last week, we went to the Spring Fling carnival at your school. All night, you were saying hello to different friends and they were saying hello to you. I am so happy and proud that you have been able to connect with people more this year! It is wonderful to watch you cultivate friendships and enjoy them. I know that sometimes you feel sad because people don't want to play the games that you do. It can be lonely when that happens. But for the most part, I think you are growing and have made huge strides.

We still deal with some health issues, but I'm hoping by mid-summer we'll have it all fixed. This will be our first summer where I work full time and you're not with Grandma. I signed you up for day camp through the YMCA and I think you're going to have a great time.

You are big, but you'll always be my baby. You have tons of freckles, and we don't know where they came from, but we love them. You say you don't like them, but sometimes I can't stop staring it you. The last few years have been challenging for us, I know. I hope that when you're grown and you look back you'll have good memories to go along with the hard times. You are my little buddy, and I can't wait to see what you do next.

I love you.

Firsts This Year!

First Science Fair: Sam designed his own experiment involving baking soda and vinegar, using three different types of vinegar to see which had the best reaction.
First Home Alone Time: Sam stayed home by himself for the first time this year!
First Time in a Kayak: Sam recently went kayaking during after school care and paddled around all by himself!


Favorite Book: Geronimo Stilton
Favorite Color: Black
Favorite Song:  Let Her Go by Passenger
Favorite Board Game: Dizios, Monopoly
Favorite Video Game: Mario Party 10, Animal Jam, Five Nights at Freddies
Favorite TV Show: The Amazing World of Gumball
Favorite YouTubers: JackSepticEye, LuigiKid
Favorite Food: Pizza, Mac & Cheese, Chicken Nuggets, Waffles
Favorite Dessert: Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Favorite Thing to Do Outside the House: Playing around the neighborhood with Ashaan & Corinna, Go to Rocket Donuts or Red Robin, Perch and Play, Jump Around Fun Zone
Favorite Subject at School: Math
Best Friend: Ashaan

Birth Story