It was past midnight. And it had been a long day. I woke up at 6 to get that bit of extra time I knew I needed. Packing. Cleaning. Finishing up some work. And then, once my husband and kids got home from work and school, respectively, driving to the coast.
The drive took less than three hours and here we were, at a large vacation rental home my mom had set up for our extended family to celebrate my dad’s birthday and retirement. Family members trickled in over the next few hours. We took a “short” walk to the beach, which ended up being a very long walk, and the kids watched a movie.
But finally, it was getting to be one of my favorite parts of the day: night. Bedtime.
My husband and I and the two boys were in one room, so I made up a bed for my older son on the floor. Blankets. Pillow. Sheets. It took a while to find where everything was hidden. My husband had collapsed into bed and fallen asleep a little while earlier. My youngest clambered into bed next to him.
“Mommy, can I have Sherbet and Sunshine?”
Sherbet is Aiden’s sherbet-colored dolphin. Sunshine is the yellow rabbit he got on Easter. I pulled them out of his backpack and gave them to him. He snuggled down with them.
“Mommy, I left my cuddle toys in the car.” It was Allen, sitting up in his makeshift bed on the floor.
“Allen, the car is locked now. Daddy’s gone to sleep and I don’t know where the keys are.”
I hated seeing him so disappointed, but he didn’t say a word. Allen lied back down on the floor, his head only about a foot away from the open door. Darkness loomed from the vast entrance area, and a staircase was right around the corner.
I remembered sleeping in strange places, new places. How difficult it was to fall asleep. I usually had a sister or two (or three) to sleep with, so I didn’t feel alone; crowded was often more the word for it.
“Aiden, do you think Allen could have one of your cuddle toys, just for the night?”
Aiden blinked open his eyes wide. “No,” he said simply.
I heard Allen give out a little moan, but he still didn’t say anything.
“Why don’t we pray for the night?” I asked. I didn’t want to push the issue and hoped and that Allen would be alright. After all, he was seven years old. He’s a big boy.
After a short prayer, Aiden sat up.
“Allen, you can have Sherbet and Sunshine for the night.” He climbed over the side of the bed with his two favorite stuffed toys and tucked them in next to his brother.
Within minutes, both boys were asleep it had been a long day full of excitement and adventure. But I think the best part was seeing a little boy give his little cuddle creatures to his brother so he wouldn’t feel alone.
When has a child in your life surprised you with an act of giving or sharing (sometimes out of the blue)? Would love to hear it. Please leave your comments below.