As busy parents it was hard to just get through the days sometimes, let alone take notice of those special “small moments” of tenderness or joy. Yet as we live out our lives, those small moments can pop up seemingly out of the blue, but no doubt just waiting in one’s subconscious to be enjoyed anew.
My daughter, an only child for her first five years, was thrilled to know that right after her 6th birthday she’d have a baby brother or sister. She would put her eye to my stomach and tell us: that’s my baby brother in there” – and she was right! She loved being a “Helper” and would happily bring me a clean shirt or some little item. I’ve never forgotten the day I looked into the baby’s room and saw her standing by the crib, singing “Rock a bye Baby” to her brother, as his blue eyes watched her so intently. A tender moment to cherish.
She didn’t like it when I put the carriage out on the front porch, so baby could have some fresh air, and insisted on bringing her book and sitting there with him. One day I asked her why she was doing that and her answer amazed me. “I’m guarding him. No one is going to kidnap my baby brother.” That was a moment to remember for sure! There had been a baby kidnapped nearby a few weeks earlier and his body found in some woods. Even six year olds take in information and deal with it as they think best.
The two were quite good companions despite the age gap, but they had their moments! Then six years later they were told a new baby was going to arrive – and then there were three. Another brother – twelve year old Big Sister was helpful and the new baby brother idolized his big brother. His arrival at home after school was a signal for some playtime and lots of happy laughter -and some great pictures of the two boys.
Small moments of family fun – April Fool’s Day birthdays for our daughter, with joke gifts plotted and planned by her brothers; Christmas days and camping trips; Scout meetings and music lessons; school concerts and plays; we still say “remember when?” when we are together.
Some tender moments are more emotional -the children grow and lives change. Graduations and college and leave takings; a wedding – seeing the Big Sister as a bride and leaving for a faraway home; graduation and a Navy enlistment. Watching that son walk down the concourse, heading back to Great Lakes after Boot Leave; turning twice to look back at us for one more look before boarding. Another graduation, another college leave taking, another wedding – and so much family living encompassed in those years.
Tender moments – noticed sometimes, but in our heads and hearts to be taken out and relived and smiled at, with perhaps a tear or two as well. And yes, as a writer – I’m fortunate to have written some of these memories and put them in notebooks. Perhaps when I’m gone, the children will enjoy reading what Mom recalled of their childhood days and say to each other “Oh gosh – remember when we ……….” and laugh a bit.