Every once in a while, my kids do something that makes my heart just melt. Last night, at Aiden's baseball game, he had just returned to the dugout after scoring, and I walked over to give him a high-five through the fence and tell him what a great job he had done. Just as I'm about to walk away, he leans forward and puts his mouth up to the fence for a kiss through the chain-link. I gladly oblige him the kiss, in front of his whole team, and as I walk away, I hear a proud, "That's my mom!" come out of his mouth. I don't have to tell you that the smile on my face was a mile wide as I walked back to my place on the sidelines.
I know, I'd better cherish moments like these, 'cause in a few years, he won't want to be seen in public with me, much less offer me a kiss. In front of his whole baseball team. On the lips. Soon enough, the proud "That's my mom" will be replaced with a sullen "Mo-om" or a "Dude, I don't know who that crazy lady is...."
Last night was our game to bring the snacks, so after the game, Aiden helped me hand them out. After all of his teammates had gotten their treats, we walked over to pack up our stuff, when Aiden notices a younger brother and sister of one of his teammates was looking longingly at their older brother's snack. Without any encouragement from me, Aiden runs over to the tote bag, grabs an extra snack for each of them, and then takes it to them. "Here you go!" he cheerfully said. "You can have one, too!" The other kids smiled and said "thanks" and I was so proud.
Little moments like these are what make all of the crappy parenting days worthwhile. Seeing your little person grow into someone thoughtful and sweet, watching them do something kind for someone else, not because you nagged them into it or reminded them--it is amazing. For those of you without kids, this may seem like such a trivial moment, but as a parent, it is huge. Not because it is some sort of pat on the back for me, because even though I may try to encourage this behavior, I also know you really can't force thoughtfulness or really even teach it. No, the credit lies with Aiden--for growing up beyond a naturally-self-centered toddler, for noticing the needs of others, for having the kind and gentle spirit that wants to help, and possessing the confidence and desire to do something about it. I am so proud of the young man my son is growing into!