"I'll do it, mom," my 10 year old son said as he grabbed the baby out of my arms for a diaper change. It was the 3rd time of the day he had volunteered to change her diaper. Now, he's a nice kid, but what person volunteers for a diaper change?
"You're offering to do it?" I queried. "What have you done and how much is it going to cost to fix it?"
He just smiled at me and shook his head. "I just love her, mom."
He went on to explain that he wanted the baby to smile at him the way she smiles at me, so he's doing the things I do. "I started off by playing with her all the weird games you play, and she just acted scared. Then I remembered that in the beginning all you did was feed her, change her, and carry her around....so that's what I did for her....but not the feeding part, 'cause I'm a guy. Now she smiles at me and I'm pretty much her second favorite person now. I can play with her now and she laughs, because she knows I'm going to play with her and I'll take care of her, too. She loves me because I love her. She knows it because I showed her so."
I just couldn't stop myself from smiling at the man he is becoming. Which is when he gave me that disgusted why-is-my-mom-looking-at-me-that-way? look and said "What?"
I spend a lot of time with my children in trying to teach them that love is actions not words. Love is a verb. It's what you do and what you're willing to do that counts. Somehow he learned all that even at his young age. He's already so much smarter about life than I had ever hoped to be.
I keep thinking that I'm teaching them about life, but there are many, many days when it seems like the lessons are meant for me.