We used to call Samuel Old Man Sam. When he was smaller, he loved to sit around in his robe and slippers. He drank tea. He talked about deep things. He learned to read at an early age so it was a normal thing to find him reading, sipping, wearing....
Sam is eleven now and Old Man Sam has gone out the window.
Sam's my adventure seeker. This summer meant para sailing and diving. It meant learning to water ski, too.
We're on the river and Sam balances on the edge of the boat, toes curling, brown arms at his side. He's about to plunge in. Then we'll hand him his skis. We'll toss in the ski rope. We'll circle around him and put the rope close and when he's ready we'll "hit it" and the boat will surge forward like mad.
My mama's heart beats a mile a minute.
Sam is in the water now. It takes a few times, but before long he's is up. He's standing, water spraying around him. He's grinning so big and he nods his head and we know the signal.
Old Man Sam sheds and this born-to-be-wild son has arrived.
Sometimes I look at this boy and I don't know how we've gone from there to here. Sam was three when Gabe was born. Zay came two years later. I hope some of his precious time, some of those tender moments, weren't washed away in the rush of those crazy-busy years.
But it was good. Now Sam is growing. Changing. And it's a good thing, too.
Father let my son grow in the ways of Your son. Let him, like Jesus, grow in wisdom and stature and favor with You and men.
It's a prayer I lift for my boys often. That they'd grow physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, but most of all spiritually. That they'd grow in the Lord. That they'd anchor deep as they stretch into men.
Sam's arms are tired. We've turned twice. He was careful not to ski over the wake yet. I know his legs are tired, too.
Eventually he lets go of the rope and glides into the water.
For a second I sit straight in my "spotter" seat. He's wearing a life jacket but the Mississippi - it churns strong.
Then I see his head. Blondness bobbing. We pull a little closer and I see that he's beaming, too.
I love this new boy.
It's okay to hold those memories dear. That little boy will forever be in in my heart.
But it's also okay to bid farewell to Old Man Sam.
And to reach for the new man he'll become!