lessons from little ones

Every day there are these countless moments of authentic life and I’m always learning and growing from the short people that I spend my days with.  I was particularly touched by this episode that happened with my Eldest the other night.

Sweet treats are not an every day occurrence in this household, but I had recently been shopping and purchased one of my weaknesses, Mint Milano cookies (you know you love them, too).  The Eldest had eaten a particularly good dinner, and we’d had a lovely day together with little fussing and whining, so when he asked for a special snack after dinner, I didn’t hesitate.

As part of our daily nigthttime routine, the Eldest listens to the the Littlest’s bedtime story, and they say their goodnights (which right now is the sweetest back and forth of hugs and kisses, both stretching out their arms wide, saying “this much” to indicate the breadth of their love.  sigh).  As I rock and nurse the Littlest to bed, my husband and the Eldest then together do a puzzle or read a book while they wait for me, sometimes with a snack. This night was no different, except that my sister was also with us, for the added snuggle.

The Eldest of course reminded my husband of the promised sweet treat, and together they marched to the cabinet to get the Milanos.  My husband took the bag and lowered it down to the Eldest to pick a cookie.  He also asked my sister if she would like one; she said yes.  He asked the Eldest to please hand her a cookie.  The Eldest looked into the bag and after a brief moment’s hesitation picked out the cookie, and slowly, with sad eyes, willingly handed the cookie to his Aunt.  Confused about the hesitation, my husband glanced into the bag and noticed that it had been the last cookie on that layer.  (You know how Pepperidge Farm cookies are in those little paper cups?  in layers?  yeah).  But of course the Eldest didn’t know that; I don’t think he’d ever had one of these cookies before.  He really, truly thought that there were no more cookies.  He had what he thought was the last one in his hand, and he gave it away.

The gloom did not last long, as my husband saw what had just happened, and quickly peeled up the paper cup to reveal the next layer of cookies, just waiting for his eager hands.  The Eldest got his cookie, and snuggled with his Aunt a bit longer.

Do you see what happened there?  Without hesitation, without fight, without question he gave what he so desperately wanted, so much thought he deserved, to someone else.  He loves his Aunt, of course.  He is a tender soul, with amazing empathy for a  three-year-old.  He didn’t want my sister to go without.  He didn’t know the underlying bounty, he only knew what he could see.  I am so inspired by this selfless act of love.  Sure, it was just a cookie.  But it is so much more.

Especially as a mom, there are moments when I don’t want to give any more.  I see the bottom of the pot, and it appears as though there will be nothing left.  How many times do I fail to see the layer underneath?  By not giving selflessly, out of love, am I missing God’s bounty for me, and for those in my life?

And that was just today’s lesson.  Boy, I have a lot to learn.  


10 thoughts on “lessons from little ones

  1. I’m late in replying to this, but I keep coming back to this post, so I knew I had to comment. I adore this story… it represents all that is good and pure in humans. And it’s unfortunately something that the world can tend to train out of them. I hope to always nurture and protect this in my children. They are our little Buddas… yes… we have so much to learn. Aren’t we lucky that they have come into our life to teach us?

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