Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brotherly Love



I was driving my sons to the pediatrician for my youngest son's 12 month check-up and I was worried.  My baby was due for five shots and he never does well after shots.  He gets a fever, needs a lot of hugs and is generally uncomfortable.  Apparently I wasn't the only one worrying.

My oldest is the question king and this car ride was no exception.  Here's a quick run down of our conversation:

Him: "Why are we going to the doctor?"
Me: "Because your brother needs a check-up."
Him: "What's a check-up?"
Me: "It is when the doctor checks to make sure you are growing well and that you are healthy."
Him: "Oh. (big pause) When I go for a check-up I usually get shots.  Will he get shots?"
Me: "Yes, he will have to get shots but he'll be okay.  It will only hurt for a minute."
Him: "Why do people get shots?" (This is when I get in a bit deeper than I am prepared to explain to a very inquisitive 3 year old but I did my best.)
Me: "The shots keep us from getting illnesses that can make us very very sick."
Him: "But he's not sick.  Why should they hurt him if he's not sick?"

I realized then that this whole line of questioning was his way of trying to get his brother out of this terrible fate.  I did my best to soothe his nerves as we made our way up the elevator and into the waiting room.  When they called us back to the room the questions started back up but this time they were directed at the nurse.  He told her, "So, I know he needs shots but they hurt and I am very worried about him.  Why does he have to get shots?"  She gave him many of the same placating statements I had used but I saw how his little brow stayed knitted.  He didn't like this one bit.

When it was time for the shots, my oldest said to his brother, "I'm right here.  It's ok.  Don't be scared."  No amount of love can prepare a 12 month old for needles.  He screamed as they all do and I scooped him up to comfort him.  But guess who was able to stop him from crying?  My oldest was waiting with a cookie from our snack bag and offered it to his brother.  He said, "Here, this will make you feel better."  And it did.  And I felt better too.

Everything he said to his brother was so heartfelt, so selfless.  It was one of those moments when I felt so proud of who he is and so thankful that I have been given the gift of raising him.  As they giggled together in the backseat on the way home I was so grateful that they have each other.  I vowed to remember today each time they yell, throw, hit and scream at one another.  I will remember this the next time I am trying to teach them to be kind to each other.  They will learn because, in their hearts, they already know.

How have your kids shown love for each other?

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