Growing up in a family with three sisters, I knew what to expect when having my first child...a girl. I understood the moodiness, the need to shop, the frills that went along with being a girl. Afterall, I am one. When my son was born, not much changed in taking care of a baby. Even through his first five years, there were no major differences between my daughter and my son (well, besides the obvious gender ones). It wasn't until one day last week that I realized I am raising a man.
We were at my parents for a family gathering on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. My three kids and my three neices and nephew were playing in the back yard as the adults convened on the back porch. At the fence approached a young boy visiting his grandma next door. Quickly, my son invited him over to play. Alex has always been the social one. He knows not a stranger and is charming as the day is long. As the day passes on, both the kids and adults are content in their activities. Suddenly, I catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye, but before I can get to my feet, it's already too late.
The kid from next door is charging at my son, arms fully extended with a look of rage in his eyes. Alex flies back a few feet before crashing to the ground with all of his weight on his right pinky. I run to my son, terrified that he broke his hand. A few tears come trickling down his face but as I look closer, I see anger in his eyes too. He gets up and tells the kid to leave and never come back.
"What is going on? What just happened?" I demanded from my son as my husband is abruptly telling the kid "Bye."
"I hit him in the head with the basketball and then he shoved me," my five year old explains.
"Why would you do that?" I just didn't understand.
"I didn't want him to hurt anyone else."
Flabbergasted, I surveyed the scene. Two of his cousins had tears in their eyes.
Apparently, this kid from next door had started a fight with the wrong family. After knocking down my neice, beaming my nephew in the back with the ball he was headed for the youngest gearing up to push her off her bike when WHAM! he got smacked in the head with the basketball.
Alex saw him hurting his cousins and wasn't going to let it go any further. I knew he would suffer but could not let his baby cousins get hurt. He was protecting his family from an intruder. He sacrificed himself for the good of others.
At this moment, I knew I was raising a man....and I was doing a pretty good job of it too.