There comes a golden moment when you as a parent can step back and bask in the joy of having birthed and raised a helpful human being. When was that moment was for us? When Alexis began, on her own accord, without any prompting on our part, to voluntarily take care of her little brother Austin.
When Austin cried and didn’t stop, I would mutter to myself, as many fathers do, “Why is Austin crying?” I, of course, didn’t expect any rational answer back from this self-imposed quiz. Babies can’t tell us why they are crying. Some mothers have the ability to discern between the cries of hunger from the cries of poo from the cries of wee. I don’t possess that gift. So it came as a genuine surprise when once I muttered out loud, “Why is Austin crying?” and a clear, sharp voice of a three year old girl responded, “Austin’s crying because he’s poo-pooed in his nappy. We have to change him.” Uh…May be I should check his nappy. Thanks, 3 year old mum! And before I could get to the nappy drawer, Alexis’ little feet were scurrying across the carpet in our bedroom, they arrived at the chest of drawers where we keep nappies, and she pulled out all the right equipement: a cloth for him to lay on, wet baby wipes, and a fresh new nappy – the right one, too, not her size, but his size. What a delight to watch her grow up, and by that I mean, what a delight to see she volunteered to help.
The next golden moment in parenting came when we were on our way to church one day. Two babies strapped in their individual baby seats, Mama driving, and Papa going over his notes to preach on a weekend service. Inevitably there would be some noise from the back seats which would demand my attention. “Papa, can I have a drink?” is the usual one from Alexis. High-pitched squeaks of hunger from Austin meant he could no longer tolerate the 40 minute drive to church without milk. Well, one day there was silence…no noise. This gave me great peace for a while until I perturbed myself with the question, “Why is it unusually quiet back there?” Expecting to find a need I’d have to meet, I turned around to view the back seats, only to find baby Alexis feeding baby Austin with a milk bottle. I turned around to ask my wife, “Can she do that?” Now I think, “Is that even legal?” I mean, she was perfectly strapped in and all, but she was only 3 years old. But what I meant at the time was, “Can a 3 year old be so helpful?” She patiently held the baby milk bottle over Austin until he nearly finished the content. “Can a 3 year old be so responsible without being asked?” When your child proves that she can, it is an unforgettable moment. You thank God He made you a parent!
What are the landmarks in human maturity? Continue reading