As I carried a box out to the kitchen, Eli said "You know, I can carry that for you, mom!" He said it in his most macho, strong-man voice. I hesitated just a second, because the box was rather heavy. But, not wanting to disappoint him, I said okay. He put out both arms, and I carefully handed him the box. He stood there for a second, surprised at how heavy it was. He didn't take a single step, he just stood there. He scrunched his face all up. He bit his tongue. He started to turn purple. There was steam coming out his ears ;) Every muscle in his body willed him to carry that box to the living room.
But alas, it was just no use. He sat the box down in defeat and looked up at me with a sad look on his face. I rubbed his head playfully and said "Don't worry, Bud, it was just awkward, that's all." He smiled happily and said "Yeah, I'll carry the next box!"
And I was reminded in that moment how much he wants to protect and take care of his Mommy. And I also remembered how important it is for me to let him protect and care for me right now. Like when he proudly carries two bags of groceries in on each arm. Or when he holds the front door open for me with a smile and then closes it behind me.
Some day, my little boy may grow up and have a wife and a family to protect and care for. And I am his 'practice run'. It is often said that a girl should watch how a man talks to and respects his mom, because he will treat her the same way.
I remember watching my husband when we were courting, and it was obvious that he loved his mom. He treated her, and still does, with the utmost respect. He viewed the work she did in their home as a great gift and 'calling' that his mom had. He would often say things like "Nobody makes pie like MY mom", or "Well, I know mom does it this way....", or "I remember helping mom....." And today, he treats me in the same way---with love, respect, admiration, etc, etc.
And in that moment, as I stood there watching my little man try so hard to carry that box, I saw a bit of his Daddy shining through. And let me tell you, nothing makes me happier :)