Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I Need To Remember
As the oldest child (and a boy, to boot) Coolister's job is to torture his younger siblings. To push their buttons. To drive me absolutely out-of-my-mind crazy by doing these things. I remember well how my oldest brother had this same role in our family. No one liked it, but such was life.
Today was the perfect example of how Coolister is NOT the typical oldest man-child.
He came home after track practice, close to 6:00 pm, ready to either eat or sleep for an hour before attending his church activity night at 7:00. He walked into the kitchen, got a drink of water, and was immediately bombarded with questions from his little sisters and brothers. ElemenoB wanted help with her math, as did All-a-Boy. Princess wanted someone to help her read her sight words and cut out her 'word worm'. Hubba wanted a train story read to him.
Coolister helped Princess figure out some of her words first. Then he sat down with ElemenoB and went over her math problems for 15 minutes. She wasn't getting it. "I'll just ask my teacher for help tomorrow," she told him. But he was determined to help her understand. Another 5 minutes passed and it clicked. She got it.
He moved over to All-a-Boy who was frustrated with fractions. "I just don't get it!" All-a-Boy exclaimed. Coolister knew what to do. "Rulers always helped me understand these better. Let's make you one," he stated like a true teacher. I was in awe. Actually, I was in (happy) tears, but my back was to the kids so they couldn't see. Coolister worked with him for at least 20 minutes before moving on to spend some time with the littlest kids.
This boy is a rare jewel. I need to remind myself often of what a great kid he is. It is so easy to become frustrated with his lack of enthusiasm for practicing the piano and getting chores done. It is so easy to overlook the amazing thing that is happening right before my eyes: a 15-year-old boy cares so much for his younger siblings that he takes the time to sit with them and teach them what he knows. He makes the time to bond with the littlest members of the family and truly enjoys it.
It even goes beyond this.
It is heartwarming to watch him at cross-country or track meets. Not only does he cheer for all of his teammates, he cheers for the 'underdogs' on the other teams. At the last meet I attended we were on the sidelines, cheering for his school. Once they had all passed the finish line there was still one boy, far behind, who was putting in his best effort to finish. "Keep it up, man!" Coolister yelled to him despite the lack of cheering from the boy's own teammates. "You're almost there, kick it in to the finish! That's it! Yeah!!" he cheered, clapping and motioning him in to the finish line. Then he turned to me and said, "Man, kids like that - who you can tell aren't natural runners - when they race and really put in their best effort, those guys are my heroes. That's got to be tough." Again, tears. Thank heavens for sunglasses.
Not to discount my mothering skills, but I swear to you he came to me this way. He was born with a tender heart and genuine love for others.
Like I said, he is good at the typical teenage boy stuff. But it is when I make the time to remember all of these other rare qualities that I realize how very lucky I am to call him my son. Because beyond the fact that we are family, there is this:
He is my hero.