This afternoon, when I got off work, I went to my Mom & Dad's house where my mom had been watching the kids all day. They were already outside, and after greeting me, they started to meander towards the back yard. Ashton resolved Sadie's melt-down when she couldn't figure out how to get down the retaining wall - he showed her how to sit down on her bottom and scoot her way down - so helpful. Then my mom and I started to follow them when Ashton said, "Mom, you and Nana stay in the front yard and Sadie and I will stay in the back yard." I told him that he would have to keep a close eye on Sadie and be responsible for taking care of her. He reassured me that this was what he wanted. I ended up stepping in when Sadie went to follow her brother up into the treehouse, because the ladder used to climb up it isn't exactly meant for a 1 (or almost-2) year old. I can't tell you how many times, okay about 10!, Ashton kept telling me to go back with Nana and that he would watch Sadie and that he needed her to play with him. It was so precious. I have this mental picture of them on the trampoline too, Sadie tackling Ashton, and Ashton graciously taking it and laughing all the while. She's good for Ashton, because he usually doesn't get to rough-house until Dad gets home from work. Plus, I just plain appreciated them laughing about it and not turning the situation into a fight! :)
Then tonight, as I was tucking Ashton in to bed, I told him how happy it makes me to see him being such a good brother, taking care of his sister, and having fun playing with her. He instantly started crying, saying "I'm going to miss my sister when I grow up." They were real tears that he used his blanket to wipe away. :( He even had to repeat himself because I couldn't understand what he was saying through the tears! As a mother, this made my eyes water up too. But I was optomistic for him and I told him that he won't ever have to leave her and that as a family we will always stick together.
After going through the bedtime routine (singing Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, ABC... and then praying) I got up to leave his bedroom and he said, "When I am 51 will you still live with me?" Of course, I told him Yes, for as long as he wants me to live with him, I will. :)
I can understand his sensitivity to separation, after all what 4 year-old wants to think about being separated from his mom, dad, and sister?? And some nights he'll talk about his 3-year old friend whose Dad is already in heaven. And to top it all off, he's trying to get a grasp on eternity in heaven (aren't we all?!), how he'll get to heaven (he wants to fly in Mom's arms), and what we'll do for forever! He's such a deep thinker. In fact, tonight he asked me if God is a body or a spirit!
I just love these kids. :) Here is a picture of Ashton holding Sadie like he "used to do when she was a baby - with a pillow on his lap, and Sadie laying on the pillow." Oh, and he's reading a story to her this way. ;)