Our boys are really growing up with three parents: me, my husband, and M. She works just as hard as we do if not harder. She looks after them, cares for them, and even disciplines them sometimes. She’s the first one to run upstairs and grab an extra shirt for J, and she’s quick to remind W to wash his hands after he uses the restroom. Occasionally, we have to reign her in, but all of this comes from a place of deep love and affection for her brothers, and in our family dynamic it works.
A few days ago our fierce little thing was stung by a wasp. She came screaming toward me in so much pain. I quickly picked her up and ran inside the house. As I treated the sting and calmed her down, the boys wandered in behind us. “Wap (wasp). M ok?”, repeated Baby J over and over. W was not far behind asking lots of questions and validating that “it was a REALLY big sting M.”
I took her upstairs to her room to rest for a few minutes, and the boys followed quickly behind us. As she lay on her bed, Baby J arrived at her side with his own paci and lovey to soothe himself as it was upsetting for him to see M so distressed. As he stood at his little post, he began to rub her back. This meaty little hand of a spirit that had only been with us for 2 years, but that already knew how to care and care deeply. W was there too with his binoculars, like every good 4 year old brother. “I’ll be right here by your side M. Just getting a closer look.”
You know those moments in parenting when everything else falls away and nothing else matters? This was one of them for me. In that moment I was so overwhelmed by the kindness these little ones showed their sister and by the fact that maybe, just maybe, we were doing something right.
All we can ask for is that our children are kind: to themselves and to others. In so many ways it’s the answer to everything, especially now. Our teachers need kindness as they navigate a whole new world. Our leaders need kindness as they evaluate how to move us through such an unprecedented time. Our friends need kindness as they work courageously to make the decisions that are right for their families. Our children need kindness as they adjust to a very different “normal.”
So as we worry about our kids falling behind, lacking socialization, or not getting enough sports or activity practice, let’s just remember one thing. If they are kind human beings, then as parents, we can exhale. That’s all the world really wants from us anyway.
Find the joy,
Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.