At the time of Bird by Bird’s publication, Lamott’s son Sam is between three and four years old. He is a clever, precocious child who interacts well with others. Though Lamott confesses that parenthood can sometimes drive her crazy, it is clear that she adores Sam. Many of her writing methods are directly inspired by her desire to leave him an inheritance of memories and experiences. Sam’s creative instincts are encouraged by Lamott, who finds wisdom in his comments, such as, “It smells like the moon.” Sam’s personality is most evident in his interaction with Brice, the severely damaged baby of Lamott’s friends. Sam shows great tenderness toward the baby. After Brice dies, Sam is calm about seeing his corpse. As Lamott portrays him, Sam has wisdom beyond his years.