Here we are on Day Eight of my little family's kindness challenge for Ramadan and our homemade calendar is starting look a bit more alive with blue post-it notes.
To be honest, today has been all about the kindness anyway as Little Lad celebrated his seventh birthday. Yes, seven. I know, I know, I can't believe he's out of Bob the Builder dungarees either. But these children, they do tend to grow, no matter what I do with them.
Anyway, he started the day with kindness quite rightly being flung his way. Birthday bunting in the living room, presents piled up at the fireplace, birthday cake for breakfast (!) and plenty of hugs and smooches all round. As well as gliding through the morning's usual preparations for school, I sneaked in a few glorious deep inhales of his head (is there anything better than sniffing your child's head?), some belly-deep laughs and some bopping of balloons at each other. We tumbled out of the door for the school run totally wired and an alarming amount of static in our hair, but we were smiling.
I didn't want to push the kindness thing too hard today as really Little Lad should be allowed at least one day of the year that's all about him (my favourite regular sermon to the Lads is that things are generally NOT all about them). But even without my encouragement, he wanted to take a tub of sweets to school today to share with his classmates. Yes, this seems to be the thing to do these days, and as much as I like the idea of not conforming to ridiculous social pressures, how could I say no to a beaming seven-year-old with big brown eyes and a toothless grin?
And after the sweet-giving extravaganza, I took the Lads out for a twilight trip to the cinema. Yes, the sun was shining in a glorious way and it seems like madness, but it's what Little Lad loves and as his Dad was off participating in his own form of torture (at work, in a pizza shop, during Ramadan), it seemed like a nice cosy thing for the three of us to do. I had to keep telling myself that after my debit card came off thirty quid lighter, but still.
Before taking our extortionate seats in a cold, dark room, we had a little time. So, as I'm always on the look-out for cunning ways to smuggle in more joy to my day, we rocked on up to the park outside the cinema and I plonked myself down in a sunny spot with my book whilst the Lads played. Now I might miss the Bob the Builder dungarees, but I regularly thank my lucky stars that the boys are at an age where they actually want to go off and play independently without their ageing mother.
It was just me, the sunshine and a little glance over the top of my book now and then, to check all was well.
It wasn't until the third or fourth glance over my book that I realised Big Lad had made a friend. He'd got chatting to a boy that looked about his age. Well, when I say chatting, what I actually mean is standing in the centre of the park wiggling their butts and throwing weird shapes in front of the world and his wife.
I was just about to holler at him in a most embarrassing fashion to bloody well pack it in, when a realisation clicked in my head. Aha. I thought. This is the rendition of 'Fortnite' dances. I cannot interrupt this.
(For anybody not in current possession of a child over six, 'Fortnite' is a quirky survival game played on games consoles which is kind of a cross between Minecraft and a clean-as-you-can-get shoot 'em up. My boys LOVE it, especially the range of dances you can get your character to do to taunt others or celebrate victories. These dances, it seems, are the main appeal)
And Big Lad and his new mate were killing it.
I LOVED that Big Lad had engineered this. Up until that point, the new mate had been swinging slowly and sullenly on a rope swing and not looking like he was all that in love with the world. Now? Now he was flossing like nobody's business.
And because I know it's generally frowned upon to go including photos of random children in your blog with zero permission, here is Big Lad, giving you a right visual treat . . .
These acts of kindness, you've got to take them where you can get them, even if they do come in a form not so easy to stick on Pinterest or gloss up on Instagram. These are my Lads, doing their kindness, their way.
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