The puppy jumped on top of my daughter and started nipping at her arms and legs. It was playful and the intent wasn’t to hurt or to harm. If she were older and not overtired she would have understood this. But she is just short of seven and was exhausted. The tears came quickly and I knew that it was time to drop the groceries and rescue her.
Before I could place them on the floor her older brother had raced over and pulled the dog off of her. The same boy who has been known to tease and torment his little sister was acting as her guardian angel. I watched him pull the dog away and place his body between the two. With one hand he fended off the pup and the other he took her hand.
Alternating between shouting at the dog and speaking softly to his sister he handled the situation beautifully. There is a reason why he is her biggest hero. He may not always like or appreciate it, but in that moment he was the hero.Â It was love. It was compassion and it was beautiful. They are not different from any other siblings. They fight and when they do it can be war, but they also look out for each other.
I watched for a moment longer and then I swooped in and gently picked her up from the couch. The puppy jumped up on my legs once, but a sharp glare stopped that. My son asked how he could learn to do that as well. Rocking back and forth I stroked my daughter’s hair and explained that the difference in size sometimes is all it takes.
Moments later I heard her begin to snore softly, head on my shoulder and for a moment I remembered the baby she was once was. It reminds me of a ship sailing off to sea. For a very short time it is large and with each moment that passes it becomes smaller until you can no longer see it. It has already happened with her brother. I can’t make out the baby he once was, not in his face or body. He is all boy now and that is good.
I am not really sure that I can do it with her anymore either. Neither one of them are too heavy for me to carry. I can’t imagine a day when they’ll weigh more than I can lift. But that is not really the problem. The issue is length. Their legs and arms dangle every which way. I am not really sure about the last time I had to carry him into the house. I think that I might have had to several months ago. He had been sick. What I remember is feeling his shoes kick my legs, below the knees I should add.
All I know for certain is that on this one day my heart swelled with pride as I watched my son protect his little sister. It was a simple yet powerful reminder that these children of mine have developed a bond that exists outside of their relationships with everyone else. That is simply priceless.