My favorite boy in this world turns 10 today – Samuel Morris Guy.
Sam would play Nintendo Wii all day if you let him, and he can’t ride in a car without bringing his DS player along. He loves Star Wars, Nerf Super Soakers and sharing arcane facts from his books about dinosaurs. Lately, he can’t get enough of Harry Potter books.
Weren’t we reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie together about three minutes ago?
Sam was born at 11:37 p.m., Sept. 27, 2001 at the Wesley Birth Center in Wichita, weighing 7.5 pounds. Minutes after he was born, in between his being weighed and having his Apgar scores recorded, I started telling him the facts of life.
“Always change your oil every 3,000 miles. Strive to get good credit. If you ever buy a new car, negotiate up from the wholesale price, not down from the sticker price.”
A few people asked if we picked the name Samuel from the Bible. While I think it’s neat that the name is Biblical, that wasn’t our motivation for picking the name. I don’t know, we had recently seen the movie, Shaft and I thought Samuel L. Jackson was cool. Maybe that played in my mind on some subconscious level.
There was no question about how we chose his middle name. Richard Morris Guy – that was my grandpa. People just called him “Rich.” Roughly a week after our baby boy was born, the old man called the house and said, “When are you ‘gonna bring that little cowboy over here?” It’s a good feeling, knowing that within the past 10 years, Grandpa was not only still alive, but living independently and dialing the phone.
We did take him to see the old man, of course. After a week of getting this newborn settled at home, we felt it a good time to gradually introduce him to the world. The first eating joint we ever took him to was Squeek’s Donuts on North Waco just near downtown Wichita. I remember a cop came into the place and the ladies at the counter called him by name.
Sam looked tiny and fragile, bound up tightly in blankets and lying awake and wide-eyed in a baby carrier. Two old ladies having coffee at a nearby table took note of him. One of them – I remember she was a smartly dressed woman with a sort of stylishness about her – asked if he was a boy or girl. A boy, we told her.
“Good,” she said with a smile, tilting her head and lowering her voice a bit. “There’s enough of us girls.”
Sam had a bumpy start when he started attending Sonshine Pre-School at the Methodist Church. It’s an 85-year-old building at the corner of 4th and Main streets in our little town. His teacher, Mrs. Costello, told Liana that she had told Sam to come in with the rest of the children after recess and he said, “No, I don’t have to do what you say.” Also, he hit his friend Jaden after he called Sam a girl.
Liana was worried. “What if he turns into a bully?” she asked. But I knew if we hung in there, our boy would be fine. And he was. Mrs. Costello later told me that Sam was a leader in getting the other kids to sing when practicing for the Christmas program. The class nicknamed him “Bible Man” because he was so good at answering questions over the Bible stories Mrs. Costello told the class.
There was another rough start when he started attending regular school. Sam was homeschooled in kindergarten, but after a year of that, Liana and I knew we didn’t have the time or patience to keep that up. Sam had some growing pains, re-adjusting to being in a classroom with other kids. He would hum, sing, talk when he shouldn’t and at one point, he and another boy got in trouble for hitting each other in the crotch.
Sam was the one who had insisted he wanted to go to public school, but after a week or two, he was discouraged.
“Maybe I should do homeschool again,” he told his mom. But I remained confident that he was going to prevail and things would turn around.
A day later, his teacher, Mrs. Swilley, reported that Sam had a fabulous day at school. He was all smiles and said he wanted to stick with public school.
Since then, Sam has always made super grades and been respectful of the adults and fellow kids in his school. His second grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, told us “I wish I had a whole classroom full of Sams.” One of the counselors at his school noted the way he was always smiling when he walked down the hall and gave him a citizenship award. I’m sure my boy wonders why I made a bigger deal out of that than any other prize he’s gotten.
I sure never got any citizenship award, but it’s okay. I’ve done something right to have a kid like this, but the truth is I’m not half the man my 10-year-old son is.