At some point, Sammy’s feet will develop callouses. He will unravel the tough tangles of life like a math problem, or a mortgage, the fraudulent bank charges I stared at, open-mouthed, yesterday, and the tiny heartbreaks of whether to propose or not propose. Worries greater than the hollowness of his milk bottle will follow him to bed at night, rest in his mind, then wake him when he least expects it.
Sammy is turning one on Monday. He stands and falls and stands and falls, landing with a solid thud on my hardwood floors. Then he smiles.
He is the only child I know whose happiness can rival what Johnny’s used to be.
Some day, he will decide to be called Sam instead of Sammy. Some day, I will call him Sammy, and he will say, “Mom, geez, call me Sam.”
This is all preparation.
Yesterday, I called the bank to report a grocery charge that mysteriously appeared on my account from Michigan, and gas charges from Arkansas. After, Johnny, who will one day want to be called John, asked me, “Mom, where are the people who took your money?”
I keep having to tell him that I don’t know the answers. I had to leave it at that, emphasizing that we were safe, and the thieves were far away. But I imagined that one day, maybe just yesterday, these thieves had been children, their names ending with ‘y.’
Johnny still bursts with joy, but he contains it, recognizing the world around him, that things greater than a dollar bill can be taken from us before we even know it. I never even had to tell him.
I can see it happening already.
Sammy is smiling and reaching up for me, his hands thick and lovely. His mouth is wide open, his fresh gums allowing three teeth to push through. They are whiter than paper. His tongue is soft and pink like his toes.
He’s learning sentences in syllables, and sometimes we think we recognize what he’s telling us, but we can’t be sure.