Friday, November 4, 2011


Happy Birthday, Sam!!
        November 5, 2011. Today you step out of your teen years and into a new decade.... the years of seeing all your career goals and dreams take on weight and shape. I hope this next decade of your life is full of much happiness, buddy. 
        Your nickname should have been “Happy.” After nearly 7 years of infertility, 2 miscarriages and thousands of dollars of treatments and procedures, you slid into our world on a cold and snowy election day, hours after a 3-day blizzard dropped 36" of snow in Duluth. We came close to needing a snowmobile to get us to the hospital. What a life-changing day it was for us, Sam. God sent us a child that He knew would finally bring a balm to our hearts after those 7 years of waiting. And joy you brought..... you were simply born happy.

        You smiled when you nursed, you smiled when you woke up, you smiled all day long. You so rarely cried or even whimpered that one time when you started to cry, I grabbed the video camera so I’d have a memory of the sound of your cry!

        As you moved into toddlerhood, you added incessant jabbering (a precursor to broadcasting?), dancing, jumping, 
and singing to your days, and you'd contently sit for an hour or more in your playpen listening to lullaby and Disney tapes while “reading’ your books.

        During your pre-school years you simply became a “character.” You were SO funny, with a quick wit and a storehouse of antics. You became a great traveler (you entertained an entire waiting room full of  tired, crabby passengers at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport at 1:00 in the morning during a 6-hour delay), understood faith and the character of God at an amazingly young age, and had a memory like a steel trap. You always had a ball in your hand.
        It was such a treasure to be a stay-at-home mom all those years. I didn't miss a minute of the magic...... and you generated plenty of that.

        You developed an extensive vocabulary (such as enormous, metamorphosis, fragrance, organization, cellular, echolocation) and used words like that in context. You don't know how many times a day Dad and I would give each other the silent Can you believe he said that? look. We read and read and read to you----every day---- and not a word fell on deaf ears!
        You know that the Hiebs are an über-open clan and we talk about anything. Pop’s family was not so open and there were things that were unexpressed and undiscussed. There was no question that we wanted to raise you so that you could talk to us about ANY thing. From the time you could talk in sentences, we talked about all things openly.
         I’ll never forget the night we were snuggling in bed---you weren't even 3-and-a-half yet----and you said, “I want to talk about things.”
        Dad said, “Sure. What?”
        You said, “I want to talk about Tampax.” (You had walked in on me in the bathroom earlier and asked what I was holding in my hand and I told you.)
        You then proceeded to ask us 10 or more questions about Tampax. Though it was pretty humorous, we did not laugh... we laid it all out for you and you learned all the facts about menstruation that night. It all seemed to make sense to you. In the 4th grade, when the school showed "the movie" to your tittering, embarrassed classmates, you could not understand what the fuss was was really old, mundane news to you. (A few weeks later, in Target, you asked me in your loud 3-year-old voice, "Hey, Mama, do you need Tampax today?" There were astonished looks from all around.....and I just laughed.)
        Your sweet, fun, cuddly personality was a daily gift, Sam. We never thought parenting would be something we looked forward to every single morning, but we did.

        Through the school years we saw you honing your talents in athletics, piano and drums, and academics. We loved going to all your sporting events and recitals and seeing those great report cards. More importantly to us, you stayed your warm, loving, funny, and generous self in spite of all the outside influences in the schools that are not always positive.

        While prepared for those “turbulent teen years,” we didn’t see it happen. Oh, we had a few arguments over curfews, cars, and cell phones (yeah, I know….you were “the LAST kid in school, probably in the whole STATE” to get a cell phone or a car….and see, it didn’t kill you, did it…you learned lots of patience), but for the most part, we had no major issues in middle or high school. It seems like graduation arrived before eighth grade was even over. Where did the years go?

        Sam, you’ve been the easiest kid to raise. So willing to listen to us. So respectful. So fun. We’ve never doubted for a moment how much you love us----you tell us and show us liberally. Your dad and I have often wondered how it would have been if we had been able to get pregnant again after you and had a child who was difficult to raise. It happens. God knew all along that you would be our only----and He sent the perfect kid for us. The three of us have been so close, so bonded. The current of our love for each other is strong and rich.
        Today I really value our ability to talk about anything and everything. I know your habits, idiosyncrasies (I know what the words flour and oscillation do to you), fears, irritations, and dreams (and you know mine). I hold them all in a sacred place, and I hope it will always be that way between us.
        Pop and I have done absolutely nothing in our lives to deserve the gift of you, Sammy. We are simply sinners saved by grace by a loving God who delights in blessing His children with great gifts. And of all the many blessings He has bestowed on us, you have been by far the most precious.

        The birth announcement I designed when you were born was fronted by a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.” And for the last 20 years, you have done just that. As a son, you have been all that we could ever have asked for, and more than we could have ever dreamed, handed down by the One who gives immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. 
        Happy 20th, Sam. We can't wait to see what God has planned for your life. I know you know we will always be there for you, rooting you on, with pride and excitement and support, as it all unfolds.       
        I love you past the moon,


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I am crying. Missin' my own two wonderfully special 20 and 23 yr. old college guys big time right now! Thanks. Ju

Pipsylou said...

Uh, seriously. Coulda warned me to grab the Kleenex.


Cole said...

With tears in my eyes, I'm smiling thinking of what I'll be telling Tristan about himself in 14 years. I'm sure they'll seem like 14 SHORT years!!

I know I've never met him, but I'll certainly be offering a prayer of praise for the blessing Sam is to your lives and I'm sure many more.