There are times I stand in awe of my son. I imagine most parents do this, especially as they see their tiny child develop into this independent person that surprises them in ways they’d never quite anticipated.

You see, my clumsy and boorish boy happens to be one of the gentlest people I know.

Oh, there’s tiny children playing with him in a play area? They’re scared of the slide? He walks up the slide from the bottom, meets them at the top, sits down and shows them how to slide down. I do not make this up. He repeats the process several times until the very little ones are following him. It is all done in pantomime: Not a word is spoken, yet every message is perfectly conveyed. He does not bowl them over, harass them or get frustrated with however long it takes to see every child ushered down the slide. He repeats, again and again, and leaves me blown away.

His big thing right now is babies. He loves babies. Baby people, baby animals… He loves tiny little new creatures of all sorts. Our friends have a beautiful baby girl and when he sees her in her mother’s arms, he lights up like it’s Christmas morning. His favorite thing to do? Run over and gently tap her nose. He knows not to be rough, or quick, or harsh.

I would be lying if I said he has not had a few run ins being just a little bit too exuberant around animals, specifically cats. He learned, through Loki’s very vocal manner, that one does not grab tails abruptly. Loki was not harmed, nor was J. A very important lesson was carried away and he has been much gentler in his approach of both Loki, his aunt’s cat, and Lenny, his grandparent’s cat. That’s the key thing: He learned, and quickly at that. This bodes well for Dog to be Named Later.

Maybe I am odd, and it would not be the first time, but this all seems so amazing to me. My experience with both male children and adults has not been positive. They have always been brash and harsh and hard for me to be around with rare exceptions. My son’s family tree has a few very bad apples on it and yet here he is, a shining example of all that is good. He is a rough, freshly mined stone right now, slowly being worked into the magnificent gem he’s meant to be. If this is how he at the start of the process, I am that much more eager to see the grown man he becomes. If he manages to retain even just a sliver of this natural compassion and concern towards the world around him he is going to do great things in his life, even if the ripples never extend far beyond a small area. The lives he will be touch will be changed for the better, and I can think of nothing more noble or wonderful for my son to leave his mark with.

Just think, in less than a month, he’ll have a sidekick to help him on his way to doing that too. We can’t wait.