Sunday, August 5, 2007

The little general with the big heart

The little guy in this photo is my youngest nephew, De Wet. He is 5 (almost 6!) and known as "the wild one" in our family. In a very nice way that is.

Don't let that sweet smile fool you for too long: he is fearless, and despite being the youngest, he doesn't take any nonsense from the other 4 boys, 2 of them his older brothers.

He is wearing his maternal grandfather's middle name proudly. The name De Wet belonged to a well known general from one of the many wars in our country's history during the 1800's. In some intricate way he is part of our family tree, hence the name being handed down to the new generations.

My dad gave each of his grandsons a special nickname during the first few months after their birth, and De Wet became "Die Generaal" or "The General". The first grandson is called "Bossiekop" - he had a bunch of unruly black hair on his head when he was born. The second grandson grandpa calls "Priester" or "Priest". He had this unusual habit of holding his hands in front of his body - reminding you of a very serious priest. Then came "Bokkie", roughly translated little fawn, because his eyes were so big in comparison with the rest of his face - just not brown but a stunning shade of blue. The 4th grandson is called "Fielies" - an endearment that refers to "my little baboon".

Back to my story about the general. His mom (my sister) popped in for a visit yesterday, and told me how her youngest son surprised her that morning with his spontaneous show of love and wisdom towards a friend of his.

She went to pick him up after the friend's birthday party, and asked him if he thanked his playmate for everything. He rushed back with Trevor who was leaving at the same time, and the two little boys said "Thanks Louis, it was a great party!" upon which another boy said: "Thanks for nothing!"

Maybe he heard it from a grown-up and thought it funny, not quite knowing what it meant exactly, but Louis, the birthday boy, turned to look for his mom, burst out in tears, and started walking away.

De Wet ran after him and put his arms around his friend, trying to console him. Then this little general told his mate: "Please don't cry, all your friends enjoyed your party. Don't let just one person spoil this for you." He took his little friend by the hand and took him to his mother, explained what happened, hugged him and went back to my sister. She was standing close-by, watching her son in amazement.

Back in the car, on their way home, she praised him for his wonderful show of love and care, saying she was proud of him. He answered: "You know mom? It was such a wonderful party, and Louis is such a good friend, I'd do just anything not to see him unhappy!"

It's so special to see my sisters' boys grow up into wonderful young men, and it's even more special to hear heartwarming stories like this one. The knowledge that I am part of their lives, and that I have the wonderful privilege of living close enough to them to be able to be with them as often as possible is such a huge bonus. It really takes the edge of not having my own children.

My 5 nephews' love fill my heart to bursting sometimes, especially when they come running to me hugging the breath out of my lungs. It's even better when they curl up next to me when we watch a movie. I love them to bits, even on the bad days when their almost-teenage-moods (and the my-brother-who-is-almost-a-
teenager-does-it-so-let-me-try-it-too!) makes me sigh in relief that I only have to witness it, not sort it out!

To my two wonderful sisters: "You will never know just how much it means to me that you make me part of your children's' lives in such a loving, sincere way, without making it seem like a consolation prize. When I count my blessings, I count you all twice!"


Sarah said...

my five year old neice recently did something a lot like this too. makes me wonder about whether we're all actually much better people underneath but our natural compassion somehow gets burried over the years...

Inconceivable said...

what a sweet lil story - and a beautiful lil boy!!

Inconceivable said...

for somereason I cam not email you at the email address you posted - my gmail could be going bonkers. I was emailing you about how i know who/what searches are led to my page. I use - it's free - have fun with it

Carole said...

This just filled my heart with such joy. What an awesome little boy. How lucky they are to have you for an Auntie.

Schatzi said...

De Wet has obviously been taught by a great mother! Glad to hear you have such wonderful nephews in your life!

KarenO said...

I agree with you 100% Sarah!

Inconceivable - I switched to statcounter and found the google thingy! Wow! Thanks soooo much for the tip, I'm giggling about the searches that led people to my site. *grin*

Carole, thanks for your warm comment - I'm the lucky one to have him in my life! :)

Schatzi - my sisters are truly amazing, great mothers and the best friends I could ever wish for. I'll tell you guys more about them in the not too distant future...