A Christmas Gift

Sir Monkeypants was out of town this past weekend, and I was really sick. It was just a head cold, but it was a 10-cups-of-tea-per-day whopper. Usually when I am sick, I just take a couple of advil and go about my business, because like most moms I have a minor God complex and believe that my family would probably implode without my constant care and attention. But this one was so terrible that I had already spent two full days just moaning on the couch by the time he left.

Sir Monkeypants told the kids that he did not want to come home to find out that they had spent the whole weekend playing video games while I shuffled around the kitchen like a snotty-nosed zombie, and they solemnly swore to do all they could to help out. And that his how I ended up grocery shopping on Sunday morning with the sixteen-year-old Captain Jelly Belly.

I really thought I could handle it, but once we were at the Superstore I realized I was way more tired than I thought. And the Captain…was amazing! He encouraged me to just hang on to the cart for stability while he ran around and gathered the items on the list.

I even had to pee at one point, and he took the cart without hesitation and continued shopping without me.

You may find this to be no big deal. But for me it was a Christmas Miracle.

Some kids, like Gal Smiley, are naturally intrepid. Given a challenge or a brand new task, they attack it cheerfully and find some way to make it work.

Some kids, like Little Miss Sunshine, are keen observers of the world around them, and after a single visit to the store, have memorized the layout. Naturally they also are familiar with the brands and sizing for everything on the list as well, having seen it in the cupboard at home.

But the Captain is neither of these things. He is a nervous guy who does not like to be thrown into new situations. He is not the kind of guy who can just “wing it” when presented with a challenge. He is not the kind of guy who can work without a firm set of instructions and a map.

And yet – he took the list, without complaint or requests for more information, and shopped like a pro. He FOUND STUFF on the shelf. He pushed the cart AND put things in it at the SAME TIME.

Like I said, MIRACLE.

I am seriously proud of him. This small incident has really given me hope that someday he will be a productive member of society, able to care for himself. Maybe even care for his own family someday, and that is HUGE.

(I may have also been affected by the fever I was running, which made it pretty easy to get weepy over pretty much everything for the past five days.)

Anyway, just wanted to mark this little incident because he surprised me, and he impressed me, and it is very cool when you raise a kid who demonstrates the power to actually be independent.

And plus, when we got home, he and the girls put everything away while insisting I sit on the couch with (yet another) cup of tea, and it was absolutely delightful to be the one who is Taken Care Of for a change. A true Christmas Gift.

6 thoughts on “A Christmas Gift

  1. This is SO wonderful to read!! I know when I’m in the depth of the teen trenches that there is light at the end of the tunnel because of stories like this that kind people share. It’s important to read this stuff when you’re not having a great day yourself. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Also, I believe our kids might be related. They are SO similar. Especially the boy and the youngest. 🙂

  2. It is so wonderful when our kids rise to the challenge to help. The other day, Kid#1 was getting into the car and saw me scraping off the front windshield. He said “I can do that” so I gave him the scraper. Then he told me to make sure my door was closed (I was sitting in the driver’s seat) so that he didn’t scrape snow and ice into the car. Like, I know this is really a little thing, but he saw that I was doing something and he OFFERED TO HELP and then DID HELP and then SAW THE BIGGER PICTURE to make sure that the job was well done and he didn’t cause any further problems. It was really heartwarming in that small sort of family way. The kids are alright. 🙂

  3. Allison

    That is so lovely. My son (17) is so similar and surprises me, too, sometimes. Hope you are feeling better very soon.

  4. Although I like being the mom, and will always want to do things for my kids to make their lives better and easier, I have to admit, as the university acceptances roll in, that my son is ready. He’s smart, and caring, and capable. He can go to university. He can live on his own. I look forward to spoiling him when he comes home, but in general he’s got it. It’s not a bad feeling!

  5. bibliomama2

    That is SO LOVELY. And I feel the same about Angus vs. Eve – Eve doing it would be wonderful but not surprising. Angus doing it would be wonderful AND surprising.

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