My older son -- J-son -- is a little camera shy at times, but he let the woman in charge of the nursery at church snap this photo of him.
He's sort of hard to see: he's wearing a light blue t-shirt and black pants, and the boy in front (the one with the gray t-shirt) has his hands resting on J-son's hair. Two kids have their legs around J'son's ribs; the front two have their legs hanging over J-son's shoulders. J-son tells me he was a "camel". Carrying four toddlers. Isn't that adorable?
This 17-year-old of mine, he's amazingly good with kids. I think it's partly his upbringing (his pre-Miser-Mom upbringing, I should point out): J-son spent the first few years of his life in a not-very-healthy home relying more on his siblings than on parents. Those years were followed by his elementary school years in a much more stable foster home. His foster mom had a variety of children, almost all of whom needed even more help than J-son did, and so J-son learned a lot about patience and caring for others and being gentle. He's incredibly good with other people, and really charming.
There are many times in his life when being "incredibly good with other people and really charming" has led J-son into trouble. In fact, it's part of the reason he's now in the Quaker Local School (our motto: "better than jail"). But his charm-ability has also been an asset, a joy, and even -- at many times -- a survival mechanism.
It's wonderful to see happy children riding on my son's back. To see the next generation caring for for the generation that comes even after. Go, camel, go!