And while I was standing there agog and offering to help him (which he refused until it came to picking up his cars), he told me that he was putting his toys away so that his daddy would have a clear path to walk. His daddy is disabled, so not having to step over or around a gantlet of toys is very important.
I was almost in tears. I mean, my son is three. And while I know that's not unusually early to show altruism, and I also know that tidying up is one of the big activities at his daycare (he was even repeating what his teacher apparently says to the children while he does it), this was the first time to my recollection that he had specifically wanted to do something to make life easier for his daddy. He's certainly been eager to help before when I've asked him--both for his daddy and just to be helpful in general--but this time he did it all on his own and for his daddy.
Like I said, almost in tears. I can't even articulate how much that meant to me. My thoughtful little boy.
Sometimes (ach, most of the time) I hate the fact that Javier can't have a daddy like his friends, someone who can wrestle with him and take him to the park, throw baseballs and race and carry Javier on his shoulders the way most daddies do. Every time Jav and I talk about how his daddy is different and walks slowly and can't climb stairs, I try to emphasize all the things his daddy can do, like read him stories and sing to him, or bake cookies with him or cuddle on the couch or play games at the kitchen table. Sometimes I worry that one day all that won't be enough, that Javier will see the other daddies and realize what he really doesn't have and feel bereft. I do my best to take up the slack, but there's only so much I can do.
So, that's why it means so much to me that Javier already recognizes that his daddy is different, and is willing to accommodate him. It makes me hopeful that Javier will always accept his father for who he is, limitations and all. And that helping his father won't feel like a burden.