She’s always been the one that cares so deeply about her family. As the oldest of three, she knows the importance of her role as the big sister. And it’s a role she doesn’t take lightly. She’s the type of girl that puts their needs before her own. At six, she knows what it means to be selfless.
It’s inspiring. And something that I strive to be just as much as she is.
I know this love that she has for her brother and sister, but today I saw just how deep that love flows. I took all three kids to the lake by house today. It was the first official day of our summer break and I wanted to make it meaningful for all three. The lake was packed, as I figured it would be. It was the first time in nearly seven years that I could sit from the sidelines and watch all three kids play without having to be hands-on all of the time. It was a big parenting milestone that I enjoyed so much. But it wasn’t just the relaxing that made it wonderful, it was what I watched that made it an afternoon to remember.
Macks often thinks that he’s older than he really is. With two older sisters that love to include him in everything, it’s easy to forget that not all big kids want to play with you. This afternoon Macks tried to play with a group of young boys that looked about Harlan’s age. While Macks was trying to play, the boys took it as an opportunity to make fun of someone that was smaller than them. In their defense, they were just having a little fun, but Macks was getting very angry at some of the names that they were calling him and the way that they were treating them. I thought to get involved, but decided against because there was no real threat to Macks. And I’m glad that I didn’t.
Soon after these boys started messing around with him, Harlan ran over and started sticking up for her little brother. You could tell that she wasn’t backing down no matter what they said about him. Eventually their conversation moved from saying things about Macks to saying things about Harlan and for her being a “girl.” And once again, Harlan didn’t back off. She showed confidence in herself and in her relationship with her brother.
The boys eventually stopped bothering them and soon all seven of them were playing and running around the playground. And it was all because Harlan showed just how much she loved and cared for her brother. She protected him when he needed it. And best of all, I didn’t need to get involved.
It was the first time that I’ve seen her show that much confidence in front of so many people. And I’m certain it won’t be the last.