Its hard to believe Sam is now 10, double digits, an entire decade old. For a kid that was given little odds of survival, Sam has done his best to LIVE.
And not just live... but thrive. So, this year, to celebrate the big ten-o... I have compiled a list of the ten things about Sam that make me smile.
1. His Smile
A Sam smile can light up any room. There is no half smile when it comes to Sam - he puts his whole face and body into it. You never have to wonder if his smile is real or forced. And when Sam smiles, you can't help but smile just a little too.
2. His Humor
While I may not get every joke he tells - and Sam tells a LOT of jokes - I can't help but laugh. For those that have not had the joy of hearing a Sam joke - this one is my favorite:
Q: What do you call a home improvement store in the middle of the ocean?
A: Home DEEP-O
3. His Imagination
Despite the crazy man from OUSD who said Sam had "no ability for imaginative play", this kid has one hell of an imagination. He has created tons of comics, written all sorts of hilarious stories, created an entire world with his stuffed animals, and runs countless car races. Here is just one story he wrote this past year.
4. His Love of NASCAR + NASCAR Heat V
Somehow, Sam discovered NASCAR and has become totally obsessed. He knows everything about the drivers, the cars, the tracks, the records... everything. Adding fuel to the fire, someone (ok - it was me) got him an Xbox and the latest NASCAR game. I don't think this obsession will end any time soon and I am OK with it.
5. His Care for Animals
To say Sam love animals would be an understatement. Dogs, cats, fish, lizards, snails... as long as it isn't a bug. He is gentle, caring, sweet and maybe a little disgusting with his pets (just look at the picture below).
6. His Memory
Elephants have nothing on Sam. He remembers things going back to when he was about two and a half. It doesn't matter how big or how small the event was - Sam remembers it. I guess I am lucky, as I get older and start to forget things, I will always have Sam to remind me (and mock me for not remembering). At least I know he will remember meeting a Supreme Court Justice forever.
7. His Compassion
His care for animals is not the only place he shows his compassion. The way he interacts with his family and friends is guided always by compassion. He is especially attuned to his grandpa and his sister, knowing exactly when they need a big hug or a good joke. His favorite thing is to sneak into his sisters room and give her a kiss while she is sleeping.
8. His Need to Devour Books
This kid loves to read - and reread - books at a pace only matched by his sister. He can tear through a 300 page book in a day. There is nothing like disappearing into a great book. I know my local bookstore will never go out of business thanks to Sam and his need for more and more books.
9. His Craving for Colby Jack Cheese
Everyday for the past two years, Sam has either had a quesadilla or a grilled cheese made with colby jack cheese. God forbid you try to pass off plain cheddar. He will know - and he will not forgive you.
10. His Love of Family
Sam loves with his whole heart. When you are in - you are in. He never shies away from telling you how much he loves you and how special you are. He loves to snuggle. He loves to hang out in the hammock with his sister. He loves to listen to books on audible why lying with his head in my lap while petting his cat. If you haven't noticed the pattern yet, Sam just loves.