Aiden the Protector

Thanking the barista while I grabbed my extra-dry cappuccino and Chris’ skim mocha, I made my way to the children’s book area. Barnes & Noble was hopping; I tightly embraced both cups o’ joe to prevent any spillage as I dodged tiny heads bouncing up-and-down all around me.

Ahhhh…how I wish I had the energy and vibrancy of a child…no caffeine needed.

I am a sucker for children’s books, which is why I frequent the library and steer clear of book stores. Yesterday – President’s Day – with my banker-husband away from his office, I made an exception. Brightly colored books adorned each shelf and a table devoted to springtime was all-but-blooming in the center of the room.


Of course, I found Aiden ogling over a book about bulldozers – complete with sound. Chris was kneeling next to him, whispering something in his ear. I had not yet been noticed by my eagle-eyed todd so I drew in the moment, revering in the simple sweetness of a father with his son.


Then I felt the slight brush of two itty-bitty bodies rushing past me; gigging to one another, unaware of the daydreaming adult brandishing hot java overhead. I did a quick spin but caught myself – and the coffees – despite my accident prone nature. Smirking and chuckling to myself I felt inclined to do a happy dance, but thought better of it…remembering, again, the coffees.


Beeeeep, Beeeeep, Beeeeep…crrrrruuuun-ccccchhhhh, crrrrruuuun-ccccchhhhh…



“Mommy, look at the bull-boze-er!” Aiden’s eyes were wide with excitement, obviously proud of his bookstore find. Chris reached for his coffee, which I readily relinquished; no longer wanting the responsibility.


“Wow, I see and hear it! Very cool, my little man.”


Chris and I were slowly inching Aiden towards the children’s exit. Framed with more books and images of story-time favorites, we took our positions. Aiden though was no longer in tow. He was holding a thin Now You Can Read book with both hands. Aiden was not smiling and did not attempt to open the cover.


“Mom-my, MOM-MY! It is Paranorman. This book it too scary. Daddy, DO NOT open it. Toooo scary.” Aiden opened the cover peeked inside, quickly shutting it again. “DO NOT open it.”


Chris and I exchanged a knowing glance. About three weeks ago, during our family movie night Aiden saw a preview of the aforementioned, Paranorman. Since then, he has brought up the never-seen flick at regular intervals. Usually this occurs in the car while stuck in traffic.
“Mommy (very matter-of-factly), tell me about Paranorman.”


“Well, honey, I don’t know about it since we never saw the movie.”


“Plllleeeeeeeeeeeeeease, Mommy. Pleeeeeeeease!”


This banter uaually goes on for five minutes or so (or until I am successfully able to turn on Toddler Radio). Then pleeeeeeease, pleeeeeeeease is replaced by “I’ve got to shake, shake, shake my sillies out…” It’s really a tossup.


I could tell that Aiden was very interested in the book; he even wanted to hold it while we walked to the front of the store. “We will need to leave this at the book store for the older kids, okay?” Aiden nodded but continued on his way. I envisioned a quick grab-and-toss was in our future, but enjoyed a few more moments of serenity. After all, life-sized children’s lit characters and tempting gifts-with-purchase were behind us.



Sipping my cap, I continued forth. Then I saw it, but was too slow to react. Aiden was in front of the Lego table – a good distance from the children’s area might I add – and he was commanding an audience…book-in-hand.


“Paranorman is too scary! TOOOO scarrrry. Do not open it!” He then walked up to a very small little boy, who couldn’t have been more than a year old, put his hand on the child’s shoulder and – in a much softer voice – whispered, “Paranorman is too scary for you.”


The little boy’s mother laughed and commented on Aiden’s articulateness. I, too, found myself chuckling and my heart melted a bit at his sincere concern for fellow-child. Chris had been up at the register purchasing my “little” bounty of spring-time books. He met us at the Lego table just as we were leaving, the Paranorman book far away so the “little boy, Aiden’s junior, would not get scared.”


As we walked to the parking lot, hand-in-hand-in-hand, I shared Aiden’s Paranorman admonition with Chris. “Looks like we are doing something right; our little man here is quite the protector and not scared to show it!”
That night there was no more talk about the “scary movie.” Having warned another child of the “scariness” put Aiden in the driver’s-seat. He was more interested in his new books celebrating warm weather, flowers and sunshine.


As I peacefully sipped my hot caffeine-free mint refresh tea – no longer fearing for the safety of little ankle-biters tempting my lack of balance – I thought about the simplicity and joy of a day spent with those I love.


Tiny moments really do matter.

Aiden “creating spring” right in our kitchen
The finished product!  Wishful thinking on this chilly day
Mommy’s version of “wishful spring thinking”
Family movie night
Another family movie night where Aiden donned
his cape and boots to save Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web 2