Do you know someone who has a newborn or infant at home? If you are a parent, do you remember those days of sleepless nights? Being the mom of three children, I’ve been down this road several times and each time I thought it would NEVER end. I was blessed with children who laughed in the face of every parenting book I read. “Ha, to you,” I imagined them taunting, “I will NOT sleep through the night at six weeks; I will NOT sleep through the night at six months; in fact, I may not even sleep through the night at six YEARS! BAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Sleep. What a wonderful time for our bodies to be rejuventated. Hours and hours of uninterrupted restoration from the stresses of the day. Unless, of course, you are the parent of an infant. Your evenings, previously marked by sweet slumber, are now timed by the clock from one feeding to the next. If you are lucky enough to close your eyes and drift off for an hour or two, you are suddenly awakened by the shrill cries of a special little someone demanding, “FEED ME!!” Then, in your bleary state of consciousness, you get the baby, change the baby, feed the baby (not counting the time it takes to make or heat a bottle if you are bottle feeding) then start the cycle all over again. (And that’s if the baby goes back to sleep after feeding!)
I remember those days all too well. In fact, just typing the paragraph above exhausted me! How on EARTH do we, as parents, survive those first few months? It is a small sacrifice to pay for the joys of having a child and over time the pain of sleepless nights does fade to a weathered snapshot we place in our mental scrapbooks. But is there anything we can do DURING the process to make it a little easier?
Which brings me to my next Act of Kindness. A dear friend of mine is living this reality right now. She. Is. Tired. I know she would never ask for help (and living several hours away, she wouldn’t feel comfortable with me keeping her baby for a weekend), so instead of waiting for an invitation, I simply made the decision to visit her for an overnight stay and bless her and her husband with one night of uninterrupted sleep.
I arrived in the evening, after dinner time, and told them of my plans. “Please don’t go to any extra trouble – I can sleep on the sofa!” A pillow and a blanket was all I needed. The baby was simply precious. Big brown eyes staring up at me, little fingers grasping my hand as I held the bottle to his mouth… oh, the joy! Seven hours and two bottles later, the house was silent as I rocked this little jewel back to sleep, just in time to see the sunrise.
As an extra act of kindness, I decided to make breakfast for the family. Ham and cheese omelets. Pancakes. The works. It was such a blessing to ME to surprise my friends with not only a full night’s sleep, but a full stomach as well.
What did this Act of Kindness cost me? A few hours of lost sleep. The bottles were made with formula they had already purchased. The breakfast was made with ingredients found in their fridge and pantry. My friends woke up refreshed. Restored. Rejuvenated. All from a simple act of kindness.
If you see a parent today who looks a bit weary, think of a way you could bless them. Kindness is free! A smile, a word of encouragement… such simple things that make a difference. Be blessed my friends and pay it forward! 🙂