The Capacity to Love

PROMISEI firmly believe my son is trying for a matched set of scars on his forehead.

His collection had an early start in his apparent distaste for walking properly, but now I think he feels that the school year can’t get started properly without a bump on the noggin that needs stitches.

Usually, he only needs to trip over a shadow.

Or maybe air.

This time, though, he gave it some flair: he fell off the slide at the school playground and smacked his forehead on the way down.

After all, why do the job halfway?

It was in the middle of the school day, so his dad was called, and Jack got taken to the doctor to get patched up. What stood out for me this time was not the injury itself, nor was it how he handled himself at the doctor’s office– he took getting the stitch sewn in, without the benefit of freezing, like a little trooper.

Rather, what stood out this time around was the compassion and love he showed for his sister, who was still at school. After getting Jack patched up, my partner asked him if he’d like to go home and have a popsicle.

“No,” he said. “I want to go get Jill and then go home and have a popsicle.”

At that point, he had his dad pretty much in the palm of his hand. He could have whatever he wanted, but he chose to delay gratification and think about his sister.

Sometimes, my kids drive me absolutely batshit crazy… but sometimes, they astound me with their capacity to love. It’s those times that I cling to, when it seems like the rest of life is steamrolling me.