Engrave a Ray of Sunshine on my Soul

Is compassion something learned or is it born into us?

I watch the daily interactions between my children. Sometimes I see moments that engrave a ray of sunshine on my soul. Other times I witness acts that make me wonder if solitary confinement is the only way to successfully achieve peace in a house with three small children.

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

We have a basket of blankets in the living room that are for any ones use should they get cold. For some reason my 2 year old, Cesar has formed a strong attachment to the red fleece blanket in the basket. Even though there is an exact matching blue one and my 5 year old son, Bency, doesn’t prefer one over the other he will grab the red one if he sees Cesar entering the room just to start a battle. It’s moments like these that make having more than one child difficult.

But then there’s instances that occur like the one last week. It was my daughter, Iris’s 8th birthday. In the past I have taken Bency to the store to let him pick out a small gift for his sister. However, this year things got busy and I found no time for this outing but I did pick up two ceramic unicorn statues for each boy to give to their sister on her birthday.

As Bency gave Iris her gift I heard him whisper something to her. I saw her give him a smile and a nod. I couldn’t help but to ask what was said. Bency looked at me and in the sweetest voice said, “I told her that I had really wanted to buy her a unicorn swimsuit. Maybe someday I can get that for her.”

Those words melted my heart.

Iris does love unicorns and a honestly, she really does need a swimsuit for this summer. It would have been the perfect gift and this sweet, little 5 year old boy knew that because he loves her and knows his sister so well.

Two days ago another touching moment occurred.

Normally I help Cesar brush his teeth in the morning. When he requested my help Saturday morning I told him I was busy and to hold on a minute. Bency immediately piped in with, “I can help Cesar brush his teeth.” I was a bit taken back by his offer because Bency has not really shown any nurturing qualities in the past but I agreed that he could help.

I noticed that the boys had been in the bathroom quite awhile so I decided to go check in.

When I peeked in, I saw Cesar sitting on the stool and Bency sitting there lightly brushing Cesar’s hair. Bency looked up and said, “I already brushed his teeth but I’m just trying to get his hair looking good too.”

As I stood there speechless just taking in that moment, Bency also asked if he could help Cesar get dressed for they day. I proceeded to witness Bency remove Cesar’s pajamas and help him into his shorts and button-down plaid shirt.

Bency wasn't always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, "What's wrong little guy?"

Bency wasn’t always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, “What’s wrong little guy?”

Later that day, my two older children and I went to the grocery store. As I pulled in, I noticed an old lady struggling to push her shopping cart across the parking lot. By the time I got parked and got the children out of the van, she had made her way to her car. I immediately went over to her and asked if she would like help putting her bags in her car. She said she did.

I helped her and we talked for a few minutes before the kids and I headed into the store. I did not discuss this with my children and they did not bring it up.

Should I have explained why I did this or do my children already know.

To lend a hand when you can. To lend a smile or a nice word. To buy a unicorn swimsuit…or at least tell someone you would if you could!

You're never too small to lend a helping hand

You’re never too small to lend a helping hand


The Muffin Truce

My two older kids, ages 7 and 5 years old have learned the art of sharing. It didn’t come naturally. Through a series of fights, heartbreak, surprises and delight they have discovered this gift. Even after witnessing it several times now, it still amazes me when Iris, the 7 year old brings home a treat from school and says she saved it until she got home so she could share it with Bency, the 5 year old. She could have easily eaten it all by herself on her walk home but she knew Bency would LOVE half of her “fun size” Milky Way. Every birthday “loot bag” has been brought home, dumped out and evenly dispersed among the two. I have never said a word…only sat back and watched with a happy heart. This past year at Halloween, Iris ate her bag of candy quicker than Bency. Bency noticed this and went and put 10 pieces of his own candy in her bag. She gave him a hug…she would have his back the next time he had no self-control on his Halloween candy!

 Our youngest child, Cesar, is almost 2 years old. He still has to go through all those life lessons and experiences to learn about the amazing concept of sharing. Yesterday, at our family reunion, my brother rented a Sun Drop slushy machine. Even though he had a Sippy cup of milk, Cesar was enamored with the slushy machine. All of the other kids were getting cups of bright yellow frosty ice and oohing and aahing. Cesar wanted in on this action; watched carefully, planned his maneuvers and every time someone sat down their cup, he would stealthily snatch it up, keep walking and mumble a “thank you.” He quickly became known as the “Slushy Thief” after stealing over a dozen!

 After witnessing this, I came to the realization that perhaps we would have a long road with Cesar to get him to the certifiable “sharing point” if we still needed to overcome stealing.

 After the big kids went on to play in the afternoon to do “big kid” stuff, he was left by himself and his only playmate was my Mom’s cat. This is one of the friendliest and most tolerant cats I have ever seen but everyone has their “breaking point” and after Cesar forcibly held him down and tried wrestling with him 10 times, the cat finally gave him a little scratch on the cheek.

 Cesar’s feelings and cheek were not hurt much and he has never been one to be easily deterred. He went and grabbed a muffin off the food table and went back to sit by the cat. He took a bite of the muffin and then gently held the muffin in front of the friendly feline. He was making his peace offering by SHARING his muffin with the kitty. The two sat and enjoyed the wonderful sunshine, each other’s company and a delicious blueberry muffin. Cesar leaned down and kissed the cat and if I’m not mistaken…I believe I heard him whisper in the kitty’s ear, “I’m sorry for being mean to you…please accept this small gift. I will ALWAYS share with you so you will be my friend.”


Cesar’s scratched cheek


Cesar sharing his muffin


Cesar giving the kitty a kiss