I don't often share an article or blog post as the foundation for one of my blog posts, but this particular piece spoke to me so loudly that I knew I had to build on it here.
"Big Kids are a parent's unsung heroes…Every time you've shared your treats, danced with our preschoolers, tickled our cranky little ones and made them giggle in delight, you've done everyone an enormous service. You've helped us carry some of the burden of parenthood, and when we were weary and irritable, you stepped up with a smile and your youthful enthusiasm and restored our hope for the future.
Sometimes adults ask a lot of you…On behalf of grown-ups everywhere, I apologize for this. We aren't perfect. We get tired and harried and we often feel like we are thisclose to needing a straitjacket. But that thing you did where you had your brother pretend that he was a kitty so that he would finally go potty so we could leave? That was genius, man. That's why we need you guys so much. You're old enough to be responsible and have some authority now, but at the same time, you're still a kid, and that means you're young enough to still see the world with fresh eyes and new ideas, and you come up with creative solutions to things that sometimes adults are too jaded and "over it" in that moment to think up themselves.
I am grateful that we have you, so that my 4-year-old can go to your gymnastics practices and your piano recitals and your middle school spring musical and see in her future the possibilities for the things that she can do if she works hard the way she's seen you do. That's a life lesson only you Big Kids can teach her, and you do it without even trying.
As the mom of one of the "little kids," I thank you. You guys are awesome, and I know that pretty soon, when these little kids turn into a new set of big kids, they're going to be awesome too because they had you guys to show them how it's done."
I abbreviated the original post for space, but every word belongs to Victoria Fedden via Scary Mommy. You can read the post in its entirety here.
As I read Victoria's words I found myself repeating, first to myself and then out loud, "yes. Yes. YES. THIS. OVER AND OVER AGAIN THIS".
Will and Hallie have known and learned from incredible big kids since we moved to Texas. Friends' older siblings and older sibling's friends. Student Council members at their elementary school. High school student helpers at Tae Kwon Do, soccer camps, and dance lessons. "Stranger" kids at the park. These big kids have, in their own unique ways, made my road as a parent a little less difficult to travel. They have also, and perhaps more importantly, set a simple yet beautiful example of how to behave responsibly, treat elders with respect, work hard, play hard, and treat others with kindness.
These kids have a piece of my heart, and "thank you" just doesn't seem adequate.
Though Will and Hallie still have plenty of big kids in their lives, throughout the last couple of years they themselves have, in certain circumstances, taken on the big kid role. Will in particular, as the oldest child in his family and the oldest cousin on both sides of his extended family, has begun to understand how significant his influence over his sister, cousins, and younger friends. He slips up occasionally - he's only eight, after all - but most of the time he holds hands, gives piggy back rides, ties shoes, reads books, and teaches sword fighting (his specialty). My heart swells with pride when I see him set the very best example he can, following the lead of those who set their very best example for him.
It takes a village, but the village isn't made up of just moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandparents and grown-ups. The village needs big kids.
God bless the big kids.