It’s the little things that take our breath away.
Let’s start from the beginning. I have two daughters who are fourteen and a half months apart in age. The first six weeks of having two so close in age were not fun, but the magic moment occurred at six weeks and one day, and from that point on it got easier and easier. Now, I can’t imagine having it any other way. The girls are now four and three and play together, hold conversations, comfort each other, and love each other in a way that just amazes me.
My oldest daughter had her first soccer practice last night. She looked unbelievable in her shin guards and soccer shoes, carrying a ball that was almost as big as she is! She is the smallest kid on the team, but that didn’t stop her from kicking the ball as hard as she could and trying to maneuver it around a cone maze. At one point, she put her hands on her hips, looked up at the coach, and squinting her eyes said, “Actually, I want to walk with the ball.” The coach did the only thing he knew to do—he said “Okay.”
Little Sis and I sat in our blue camp chairs along the sideline cheering Big Sis on, urging her to run with the ball, all while smiling and waving. Little Sis cheered for Big Sis at the water break and patiently waited for the hour-long practice to conclude so that she could kick the ball around with Big Sis. Big Sis obliged and they ran off kicking the ball together while I spoke with the coaches.
I was proud of several things last night—their attitudes during the practice, their willingness to try new things, and the fact that there were no meltdowns. (They were both tired and hungry by the time practice let out.) They were both so excited about Big Sis’s achievement at completing her first team practice that they wanted to stay outside when we got home and have their own “team.”
After dinner and bath, they both crashed hard. I think they each were asleep before I left their rooms. (Ah—the side effects of playing sports!)
The breathtaking moment came this morning as I dropped the girls off at pre-school. It is only the fifth day of pre-school and my youngest daughter has been slow to adjust. She has needed her special blanket and lamb each morning to calm down after I leave her in her classroom. She is sensitive to new situations and takes her time getting comfortable with new routines.
This morning, as we walked to her room, I was prepared for the tears—I was not prepared for the sense of pride she exhibited about her sister. She walked into her classroom, eyes bright, and announced to her teacher that Big Sis had her “first soccer team last night!” I looked at her teacher, who continued the conversation with my daughter, and I was overcome with serenity—this three-year-old is so excited about her sister’s accomplishment that she forgot about her anxiety toward her new school situation and beamed about her sister’s accomplishments. I gave her kisses, told her I loved her, and as I left, she was still explaining the events of last night’s practice to her teacher—no tears.
As my oldest daughter and I walked down the hall, I pointed out that Little Sis didn’t cry. Big Sis looked at me and smiled and then led me into her classroom. She said hello to her teacher, took me to her hook, and I hung up her backpack. We then exchanged hugs and kisses and said goodbye. As I was leaving, I heard her say excitedly to her teacher that today was the first time Little Sis didn’t cry when we left her in her classroom. Big Sis was so proud of Little Sis’s accomplishment, that she put Little Sis first and wanted to share her excitement with her teacher.
What more can we as humans beings want than for our children to put others first? This one small gesture by a three- and a four-year-old is a perfect example of how to live our lives daily: take pride in others’ achievements; be excited when others accomplish something; pass on our excitement so that more may feel the joyous effects of our happiness.
I was breathless when I reached the car. As a mother, I can barely put my feelings of joy into words. I know my daughters will continue to have their arguments and annoyingly pick at each other as only siblings do. But for a long moment this morning in August, they illustrated their wisdom gained in their short lives—be excited when others accomplish something, no matter how great or small the accomplishment. Pass on the excitement—it is infectious.
August 18, 2004