Every now and then I see something in the world that makes me think, Yep, that's how things are supposed to be.
Last week my girls' elementary school held their annual outdoor running event called The Cougar Chase. Essentially this activity involves each grade taking a turn doing as many laps around the school as they can manage in thirty minutes. Parents come and stand on the sidelines to cheer their runners, but this year one of the second graders brought along a special guest. When the whistle blew and the kids began to run, one little boy shot forward with a much taller boy, too tall for elementary school, in fact, running at his side. I was told that it was his big brother.
Over the next half hour these two brothers led the pack as they ran lap after lap around the school. The little brother, the second grader, appeared focused and intense. You could tell at a glance that it was A Big Deal. Can you imagine how excited that little guy must have been? To have one of his big brothers there to run with him? I was also told the big brother is in eighth grade and runs cross country, and even though I don't even know this family I felt so proud of them. The temptation to torment and condescend to younger siblings is often unflagging and some days I feel like a broken record trying to instill in my daughters a sense of unity. We're on the same team, I constantly remind them. So, to watch an eighth grader show up like that, to watch him graciously allow his little brother to set the pace and for half an hour run side by side was incredible. It was like witnessing a visual aid for one of my number one mommy lectures. It was the kind of moment that presses upon you, insisting, This is what it's all about.