I don't know what I was most drawn to. Was it his smile as we waited together in the hallway? His curly blonde hair falling just over his forehead? His scrawny, skinny body housed in training pants and a tank top, his sport shoe resting against the wall holding up his slouch, his arms crossed over his chest? All I know is that this teenage boy, oh, I'd say about sweet 16, really captured my attention. My gaze kept returning his way as we waited together in the sport hall; waited for our "kids" to finish up sport club and bring them safely home again.
As I collected Kaeden and we headed outside to our waiting bikes, I watched a handicapped girl, about 6 years old, runtowards this boy with a huge smile on her face. I watched this young man reach out for her and bring her up for a tight hug as he ruffled her hair and kissed in her scent. I watched as he set her back down again and took her hand in his, his self-assured walk helping her clumsy shuffle as they amde their way outside.
"Look what I have here," he said to this little girl. "We get to go on a bike ride." He reached down to pick her up and settle her into the child seat behind his bike. He gently buckled her in and hopped on, telling her she could feel the wind but it wouldn't be cold, because his body (clothed in a tank top and skinny) would keep her warm. The little girl poked him in the back. He turned around and playfully poked her back. She laughed and then they were off. I didn't hear another word, or catch another glimpse of them in the distance. But for those 3 minutes, I was entranced.
I assume that the boy was her brother. He was far too young to be her father, and the bond between them was definitely strong. He made me feel so proud. Here is a teenager picking his little sister up from the sport club for handicapped kids. He didn't hurry her along and try to hide her from the world, but tenderly and sweetly gathered her into his arms, showing his love for this little person, no embarrassment, no shame, nothing other than love. I learned so much just watching the two of them interact. This boy, whom I do not know, whom I have never before seen, opened me to an understanding about what commitment, love, and courage means.
Waiting with him in the hallway, I knew there was something about him. Seeing him with his sister, I know exactly what it was about him. Sweetness. I now know what the word really means.