I want to be his hero

This morning, while I was grabbing a quick shower, the boys spotted one of Aiden’s birthday presents at the top of the cupboard. I explained that Aiden’s birthday wasn’t for another week and that he couldn’t have it now, but Cam was determined to get it for him. 

While I was getting dressed, Cam kept trying. First he fetched a stepladder. When that didn’t work, he collected pillows from throughout the house and tried to build a tower with those. 

As impressed as I was by his persistence, I was about to get annoyed with Cam for disobeying my instructions. But then he turned to Aiden and said, ‘I’ll get it for you Aidy. I won’t let you down.’ That stopped me in my tracks. 

I took Cam aside for a little chat. I told him that it was lovely of him to help his brother but we needed to wait for Aiden’s birthday. And then Cam said, ‘But I want to be his hero.’ I couldn’t shut that down. So I grabbed the ladder, lifted him up to the top of the cupboard, and victoriously, he presented the prize to his brother. 

And I’m thinking, this is one of those teachable moments parenting gurus are always going on about. Delayed gratification is an important lesson for my boys to learn. But relying on each other? Helping each other? Being heroes for each other? That’s important too. 

I could leave this post here. I could end off by saying there’ll be other presents on Aiden’s birthday, but maybe this one will make a lasting impression for more important reasons – for both of them. But even as I congratulated myself on imparting wisdom to my offspring, even as I basked in the glow of my wonderous parenting, they started squabbling over the trains. Then Cameron started asking for juice and within moments that had escalated to a full-blown meltdown because I said he couldn’t have any. That lesson on delayed gratification involved tears, foot stamping and door slamming, before evolving into a tantrum about not going to school that lasted the entire drive there. 

I stand by my decision to let Cam get the present for Aiden. I hope it taught him that when one is persistent for the right reasons, it pays off. That he got a warm and fuzzy feeling inside from seeing Aiden’s delight, and that it showed him that putting others first makes us feel good. I truly believe his intentions were noble, that I saw a bit of gold in him and went after it. 

And the fight about the juice? As emotionally exhausting as it was, I had to do it. I know it’s just juice, but I hope he learnt that he can’t get his way just by throwing an almighty tantrum. That sometimes the answer is ‘no’ and we just have to accept that. But I always find these stand-offs leave a bitter taste in my mouth – maybe because they push me so close to losing my temper? 

As I sit here enjoying a quite moment while Aiden naps and Cam’s at school, I marvel at how much these little people pack into our hours. Golden moments followed by tough ones. Smiles followed by tears. It’s exhausting. It’s an emotional roller coaster. And there’s no getting off! I’ve just got to hang on and try to enjoy the scenery as it whizzes past. 

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5 thoughts on “I want to be his hero

  1. Friend this post made me cry. So beautiful and so frustrating that such a special moment didn’t end well. I seem to struggle with yes’s and no’s all day, and end up feeling like the enemy at the end of the day when James cries at bed time. And I ask myself how I can do better, be gentler, and still bring up a little hero for his brother. Well done Mommy!

    • I know friend! Most days I feel like I get more wrong than I do right. And I look at other parents who seem to have all the answers, and know what they’re doing and what they’re trying to achieve. And I just feel like I’m winging it! But then I remind myself that we’re all beginners at this and that no one gets a magical ‘wisdom download’ when their child is born. And that we grow as much as our kids do on this journey.

      • Most parents don’t let others see the down side. They’re always there and there’s always a topsy-turvy, see-saw balance between them. Feel good that you’re aware of them: they end all too soon.

  2. Beautifully written Lucy! And such a precious brotherly interaction captured. ‘I want to be his hero’… What a noble aspiration. Cam might not yet have a perfect picture of what it means to be a hero (heroes need to wait sometimes and respect boundaries) but it’s a noble star to shoot for!

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