What Family Means

My husband, with clenched teeth and a night he wanted to end, handed out ice-cream filled cereal bowls like he was handing out deployment orders after a long day. The kids didn’t notice, they happily filed in at the table, one-by-one with bowls and spoonfuls of chocolate and vanilla lining slipping into their mouths while smiles crept on their faces. Baby Dude was being fed his by my husband in the kitchen when out of seemingly nowhere he began to shriek loudly. And by shriek, I mean scream his head off. He’d run out of ice cream.

He cried and cried in this most pitiful of ways, so upset he didn’t get much of it while the older kids happily licked their spoons, delving in for more. My husband didn’t have any left to offer him, either, having given the olders theirs first because they had to get to bed for school. Baby Dude cried like he had been wronged the worst type of wrong.

Until his oldest brother piped up “Come here, you can have some of mine!”

I scooped up my little booger and tear-stained face, mouth quiet and open, instantaneously happy as he leaned in for a chocolate treat from his good-hearted brother. Suddenly, it wasn’t the ice cream that was melting any longer, it was me. Every child, one-after-another, held their spoons up for their youngest brother, each one sacrificing a little bit of their treat so he could have more, and be happy along with them, too.

Oh, the lump in my throat, the tears that were in my eyes while seeing their happiness in making him happy, and watching them get the sloppiest of chocolate kisses in return for each spoonful, it made me day. It made my life.

My oldest even relinquished her last full scoop to go to him, so the others could finish enjoying theirs.

My heart is so full.

Definition of family: Sharing your ice cream with your little brother when he has none. And making your mom weep uncontrollably when she re-tells the story of how wonderfully giving her children are.

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