Spelling Bee

Tired after a long day at school, a day that began at 3:30 a.m., he crawls into my lap, seeking a place to unfurl. His limbs are heavy and I hug him, breathing in the softness of his hair. “H… U… G…,” I say, “spells HUG,” I say and squeeze him again. He cocks his head to the side and studies my mouth.

“K. I. S. S.,” I try. “What does it spell?”

“KISS!” he says. I shouldn’t be surprised, Sam did this years ago, but I am stunned.

“C. A. T., spells?”

“CAT!” he shouts, now sitting up.

“H. O. R. S. E., spells?


“B. L. U. E.?”


Surely this is an advanced skill, to be able to hear the letters, visualize them in his head and then come out with the correct word?

All the times I thought I understood my son’s limitations and talents. All the times I’ve feared he wasn’t learning much. All the times I’ve read a bedtime book and allowed John to push it away. All the times I thought, Fine, Sam is the reader, not John.

All those times? I was wrong: I don’t know a thing — other than my love for that little boy is immense.


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