Secondborn went on a field trip this week. As part of the trip, they were supposed to bring along $7 for a meal at CiCi's Pizza. (Or a packed lunch, but who wants a packed lunch on a field trip where there's pizza?) So the night before the field trip, I went by an ATM and pulled some cash. Per our usual practice in these cases, I handed him a $20 bill and he put it in an envelope so he could bring the change back to me.
Well... he handed me back the change, and it was $6 rather than the $13 I'd been expecting. His friend -- whom I'm going to call Gawain, for reasons -- had been "a few dollars short". Meaning that, strictly by the math, Secondborn paid for Gawain's lunch in its entirety.
I am so proud of him.
So I told him so, and then I told him that if something like this comes up and it's less than $20 and he's already covered himself, he should just help his friend out and tell me afterwards -- as he just did. It's a new family rule.
Me, at the top of my lungs in the back yard: "PARENTING!" (Okay, not really. But I kind of felt like it.)
Secondborn is generous, and his instincts are generally good. If he can help out, he will. And I want him to hold onto that, even while he figures out how to set boundaries and determine what he really has to offer. So now we have a precedent, and a general guideline.
Plus, he lost another tooth.
Parenting is difficult, often thankless, frequently draining, and surprisingly goddam expensive. But there are moments that make it all worthwhile.