My son pitched what can only be described as a hellacioius tantrum this morning.
While he’s three and at the perfect age to pitch tantrums, this time, it wasn’t over wanting candy before dinner, a toy, a television show or any other want that would cause a tantrum in any healthy three-year-old.
This time? It was over wearing his sister’s shirt. The gray one with the blousey sleeves that proclaims quite merrily: “Cute! Cute! Cute!” in every color of the rainbow. The tantrum was kicked off by his big sister telling him it was her shirt, not his shirt. To be fair, Autumn has a point: it is her shirt. And even further into the whole realm of fairness is the fact that telling a three-year-old “no” is the quickest way to having your ear drums ruptured.
“Autumn,” I asked, “Can Benjamin just borrow your shirt for a bit? I promise he’ll give it back.” To which my darling four-year-old sighed and said, “I guess,” before she sat down, her bottom lip pooched out.
I’ve long written (and spoken) about that moment you get a glimpse of I am in your children’s lives. That moment in the early years when they say or do something that gives you a preview of who they’ll eventually turn out to be. Today, my eyes filled with tears and my heart swelled with pride at my son showing me who he will eventually be.
You see, Benjamin didn’t care that it was a girl’s shirt. Benjamin didn’t care that it was a shirt decorated with “girl” colors, that it was a shirt that was two sizes two big. Benjamin instead found something he loved and wanted for his own. And he fought for it, kicking and screaming, determined to have it in his life. He didn’t care what other people’s opinions are about the shirt. What he cared about was the fact that he found something that fit him, and him alone, and it meant enough that he went after it.
I helped my son put the shirt over his head, and the joy that beamed from that beautiful smile at his took my breath away.
I hope my son always feels that pure joy and passion at finding something he loves. I hope he always fights, as hard as he has to for those things and people in his life that he loves, that he never gives up. That he does whatever it takes to keep what means something, even if it only means something to him.