Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Need To Remember

(I love this picture of Coolister. It really captures his personality well.)

I needed to hurry and write this before the warm fuzzies went away. It's something I need to remember ...but I tend to forget.

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.


Panama Jones said...

I remember one night camping when we all played Capture the Flag. Coolister at the last minute switched sides, winning the game for the opposing team. This, naturally, infuriated his original team and he didn't hear the end of it for a long time.

Of course I wondered why he would do such a thing. Observing his personality I think it was his sense of fairness. He knew our team would win, so in his mind (and no one else's) it was only fair for the other team to have some glory.

That, or he's just mental. Take your pick.

annette said...

Now you've made me cry happy tears. After a somewhat trying day, I needed to be reminded of this. It's funny, I see it in your children so easily, but I often let the frustrations of raising them overshaddow the good in mine. I totally "get" the need to write it down while the warm fuzzies are there.

And yes, he is amazing. When he comes over, he plays with all of my kids- and they all enjoy him.

Anaise said...

As the mother of many daughters, when I hear about truly good boys who will likely grow up into truly good men, I feel thankful. There are so many boys who are not being raised into manhood--they're just being allowed to drift along and have no idea how to be loving or tender or strong in the ways that count for goodness--your boy gives me hope that there are more out there like him, and it makes me fear a little less for the futures of my daughters.

cari said...

That's awesome! As a mom of teenage boys, it's easy to overlook the beautiful things they do. (Probably because the "typical teenage boy" stuff is SO annoying!) Good for you for taking the time to notice the amazing stuff!

Michelle said...

You put that so well. Thanks for a good happy cry.

He is a great kid. I am always impressed with the genuine love he shows for his younger siblings.

BTW all, I think all of your kids are great kids. Yes--they did come that way, but they have great parents who've helped them stay that way.

laura said...

Wow. That was a joy to read. I'm totally crying. I knew there was something special about my favorite third grader. (Don't tell the others!)

Stephenie said...

He was pretty amazing when he stayed with me a few years ago. He is a great kid, very helpful, but also so funny and entertaining to be around. I think they are born that way, but sure are influenced by parents ALOT. You are a great mother with 9 fantastic children. Thanks for the post. I enjoy seeing things about your children.

sue-donym said...

He may have came that way, but it is because of you that he is STAYING that way.

(Will you save him for the Princess when they get old enough?)

Gina said...

Too many tears. Luckily, I am known for these in my family. No biggie. Little Birdie just says, "That is because you are happy. Huh?"


Trish said...

AWESOME kid...with two pretty awesome parents.

I ditto the other comments above mine...he may have come this way...but he is growing into the wonderful young man he is b/c of the incredible parents he has.

Teachinfourth said...

I am speechless.

Burns said...

You deserve credit. Coolister is a pretty cool kid.