Tonight, I had two exhausted boys at bedtime. School fete, beach, park, party and a post dinner adventure had left them sun-kissed and weary. Both were sporting knees green with grass stains, toes still covered in sand and elbows grazed by scootering incidents.
The usual cacophony of bath time was replaced by a far more sedate affair. No grumbles about hair washing, no fighting over the rubber ducks.
I lifted two clean but sleepy boys out of the now mirky bath water, wrapped them both in big fluffy towels and gently applied plasters to their war wounds. Matching plasters of course.
Then, something truly magical happened.
Encouraged by Bigger, Littler climbed into bed, snuggled under his duvet and listened with eyes as big the moon, as his big brother, THE best big brother in the whole world, read him Hairy Maclary. I sat in the doorway and watched them. It was so beautiful. Two brothers. They clearly adore each other and over the past 2 months have become incredibly close considering the 4 year age gap.
As the last page was turned and Hairy Maclary ran straight back home to bed, the best big brother in the whole world simply picked up Mog: The Forgetful Cat and started reading. By the time Mog had become a bit overexcited in the garden smelling all the smells and forgetting she even had a cat flap, Littler was sound asleep. The best big brother in the whole world had climbed into bed with his little brother at the start of Mog, but he didn't stop reading when the snoring started. He carried on "because falling asleep and knowing someone is still reading you a story is really lovely".
Eventually, I convinced the best big brother in the whole world to quietly leave his little brother and hop into his own bed. Where I read him our latest Hiccup the Horrendous Haddock III book (honestly don't know who is enjoy these books the most...).
Blessed. Lucky. Incredibly proud. That's my baby, the best big brother in the whole world. I made him and gave birth to him. I've held his hand to walk across walls and over roads and even once into the operating theatre. But this boy will hold my heart forever. I truly hope he never loses his sense of empathy, his compassion and his tenderness. This boy, this best big brother in the whole world is going to be a ruler of hearts, a leader of minds and an inspirer of spirit as he grows up. Be it in the wider world, or simply within our own little family. I know this much for sure, he's already someone's hero. His little brother's.