photo-2We arrived at the library to pick up my nephew Miles’ stuffed elephant. The elephant and the other children’s animals had had a sleepover the night before.

Once inside the children’s area, three-year-old Miles runs up to a little girl. “Can I play with you?” he asks. “My name is Miles. What’s your name?”

The little girl whispers her name as Miles sits down to play.

“Oh,” Miles says. “I like that name.”

The little girl’s mother heard him, too, and gave a quiet cry of, “Oh!” and put her hand over her heart as we watched them play.

Later, as we’re getting ready to go because it’s naptime, Miles picks up a book that he wants to check out of the library. But he picked it up from a stack of books another girl had collected for herself.

“Let her have her book back please,” I said. “We can pick another one.”

“But I want this one,” he pleads and I sense the meltdown coming on.

I crouched down to talk to him face-to-face. “Miles, today you’re becoming a big brother. Do you know what big brothers do? They share. She chose that book already. Let her have it back, please.”

“But, I want it,” he said.

“Yes. It’s alright. Will you share? Will you hand the book back to her?”

He just looked at me for a moment as he decided. And then, with tears in his eyes, he turned to the girl and gently handed the book back to her. And then he hugged me for support as I fought back tears. “Good job, Miles,” I whispered to him.

“I can’t believe I just saw that,” the librarian said, somewhere behind me. “I have goose bumps.”

Miles and then I picked out another book, checked it out, and headed for the door with his stuffed elephant.

“But I want to stay at the library,” Miles said, even as he walked toward the door.

“Yes, you always do,” I said. “We’ll be back. But today, we’re going on adventures.”

“Adventures?” he said, having learned the word yesterday.

“Yes,” I said. “The way Elephant had adventures at the sleepover.”

On the way home, I said, “I’m very proud of you, Miles, for the way you gave that book back. Sharing can be very hard. But you did it. You’re going to be a very good big brother. Did you hear the librarian talk about you? You’re a hero.”

“A hero?” he asked.

“Yes. A hero.”

“I’m a hero,” he repeated. And like a true hero, he seemed to have mixed feelings about it.

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon.