So I thought I'd go through some of my photos, to see if I could find something that sparked a memory.
Of course, the first problem is that I have more than 17000 photos on my computer, and a lot more in albums and on CDs, so that approach probably wasn't going to be as immediate and successful either. Still, it's always nice to look at them.
As I looked at Samuel's changing face over the years, I thought about how his personality had changed too; and how, in that last year before he died, he was well on his way towards becoming a man.
Of course, for most of the time we had with Sam he was a child (surely these are happy memories, which I'll get to - as soon as I can access those memories!).
Then suddenly he was a big brother:
Then suddenly he was a big brother:
It was around this time though, that we started becoming a little more 'permissive' in our parenting.
Suddenly, Samuel was watching more 'mature' TV shows (like 'Family Guy'), and seemed to be 'getting' more of his Uncle James' dirty jokes (surely that's what happens when you have busy parents and a new baby?!) While he was still lovely, new behaviours began to emerge:
We went through a pretty rough patch in 2006; when Anthony got sick and I was working in a pretty tough environment. So all things considered, Samuel did OK. It must have been a pretty horrible time for him; with lots of added responsibility; grumpy, stressed, sick parents and a toddling little brother who did things like push his Lego men down the shower drain (how horrified the Lego lover Ollie is about that time now!)
He could have gone completely off the rails, but managed to keep it together (a testament to his resilience and wonderful personality).
But apart from the odd cranky outburst, he was pretty normal. He went about developing his wonderful musical tastes, perfecting his attitude, and collecting bling;
and although he seemed a bit horrid sometimes, he generally was still lovely.
There were times when I despaired about the loss of my little boy, but I knew things were going to be OK when he still dragged himself on little 'outings' with Oliver and I, despite an obvious lack of interest:
He usually came along willingly, and even enjoyed himself (when no one was looking).
Samuel was also a great person to have with around on holidays too, especially as he got older.
I'm a traveller, with hopefully much more travelling in my future, and only now am starting to come to terms with the fact that I might have to do it alone.
While Anthony will go on 'big' holidays if I drag him along, he's never been as enthusiastic about visiting relatives or doing short trips.
There was no way I was going to let that keep me at home, so I often used to just take off with the kids on tow. We would often drive to my godmother's house in Moruya, or even to Melbourne to visit my family there. He liked seeing new places and always got excited about going on holidays.
As the years (and the photos) went on, I saw more and more of the potential man emerge:
The kid-with-attitude who still loved (and tolerated) his little brother:
He was still sweet and innocent sometimes, and becoming a mature and responsible person. By thirteen, he had acquired the obligatory gadgets (iPod, mobile phone), all through hard work (yes, I work my kids hard!) and perseverance. These gadgets were responsible for teaching him some important life lessons.
He learned the value of money and how to save for something he wanted when he saved up and bought himself both the iPod and the phone.
He also learned how easy it is to lose them. In year 7, a fellow student stole his phone, and despite our very strenuous efforts to get it back (and get some justice), he never did. A harsh lesson, and perhaps another step towards the end of his innocence. I still get angry about that. Even more so now that I just know this kid is never going anywhere in this life, but he still gets to live it. (No, I don't wish him harm, I just get angry)
But that's something I shouldn't dwell on.
As for the photos, I never could pinpoint that moment when he changed from boy to man. But perhaps this one comes close. This was taken just after his 12th birthday, in early year 7.