After all the teeth are brushed, faces washed, books read, and songs sung, I stop by each of my kids’ beds in turn for a hug and a snuggle. I give each them a few minutes that are just theirs to tell me “something.” I often gently cut off a long, rambling diatribe on a child’s next birthday party, which will be a Dora, Spiderman, Chucky Cheese party with Batman cupcakes at Jump & Bounce, to tell my “something.” Something small that I love about that child or something wonderful that someone mentioned about them that made me proud or something that I observed them do that was sweet or helpful or caring.
Yesterday, Nate started going to Crunchy Waldorfy School with Quinn. He’ll go every Thursday morning for the rest of the year so that he can find his bearings and meet the teachers while his brother is still there in preparation for going three days a week on his own next year. Quinn has quite the little pod of best friends at school, the middle children of my closest friends, and I worried that he would be unkind. They are a sweet, but formidable little trio and they sometimes get involved in elaborate games and forget that everyone may play. I feared Quinn would shun his baby brother in his big kid school space.
Instead, he surprised me, as children like to do. He was very kind and very helpful. He took his role as big brother seriously, showing Nate where to put his shoes and where to sit in the circle before I left. I returned two hours later to find Nate joyfully ensconced between Zeni and Quinn and Ty – a spot generally impossible to occupy – playing a singing game.
Nate strutted to the car. He about burst with happiness and pride to have spent the day with the big kids at school. I never dreamed of such an easy transition.
As I wrapped my arms around Quinn last night for a big hug, I whispered into his ear how proud I was of him. How much he helped his brother on his first day of school. How happy it made Nate and how happy that made me. I told him that my heart was full because he had been so kind and thoughtful.
He beamed up at me when I laid him back on the pillow, his eyes lost in the wrinkles of his huge smile, and squirmed with happiness.
“So mommy,” he exclaimed, “WHAT DO I GET?”
For just the smallest second there, I felt like a really good mother. If raising four children teaches me nothing else, I will have learned humility. Over and over and over.