My eldest can be a pain in the ar*e approximately 95% of the time. But, when the chips are down, he surprises us all and reminds us what a lovely son and brother he really is.
I took the kids for a bike ride the other day. We agreed that the boys would ride on ahead, sticking together, and I would ride with my daughter. We’d gone about 100 metres when my younger son wobbled, skidded and fell off his bike in truly spectacular fashion right in front of us.
As I picked my shaken son up, my daughter grappled with his bike and her own, before a stranger moved the bike for us. Another stranger turned his van round specifically to come and check he was OK.
He was pale and his elbow was hurting. I wanted to look at it, but he wouldn’t let me. He’s afraid of blood and didn’t want to see it – or even to know that I’d seen it. He wanted to remain in blissful ignorance. But when we saw it start to soak through the sleeve of his hoodie, we knew we had to look. He struggled to pull his sleeve up.
Then my eldest stepped in and took control. He yanked his zip down and pulled his hoodie off his arm from the top.
There was more blood than I would have liked to have seen. And certainly a lot more than my son would have liked to see. Before I had chance to say ‘That doesn’t look good, perhaps we’d better go home’, my eldest took charge.
‘That’s fine!’ he said and quickly covered his arm back up.
Not because he was anxious to get on with his bike ride, but because he was protecting his brother. He knew that knowing about the blood would make his brother feel worse than he already felt.
Although he was still pale, his elbow was hurting and he felt shaky, my son insisted he went for a bike ride. He had a few swigs of water and he was gone.
I didn’t see them again for a long time. I thought we’d catch them up or we’d see them coming back the other way, but we didn’t. I started to get anxious. I shouldn’t have let him go. I was concerned he might go into shock. I was concerned about how much more he would bleed. I wished I’d had something to give him to eat to get his blood sugar up, but I hadn’t. It was just my two boys on their own.
When we eventually met them, my son’s arm was bandaged. By his brother.
About halfway to the town they’d realised my son’s arm wasn’t OK after all. So when they got to the town, my eldest went into a shop to buy a bandage. He had a fiver in his pocket, but, I’m not sure why, the shop wouldn’t accept payment for the 90p bandage. When he’d told them it was for his brother who’d cut his arm, they let him have it for free.
Then, using his Scout first aid training, my eldest had expertly bandaged his brother.
I’m so proud of him for taking care of his brother and having the sense to go and get the bandage, as well as having the skills to bandage him up.
He might be a pain in the ar*e most of the time, but, when we really need his help, he always steps up.