On a monotonous morning at work with moms and babies and toddlers in and out of my office listening to my shpeel about iron rich foods, the importance of breastfeeding and how to deal with a picky eater, I was stopped short by a four-month-old baby with a smile from here to eternity. I was going on and on telling mom about how gastro-esophageal reflux is the diagnosis of the day and every baby has it; it's just a fancy word for spit-up and yes, it's messy, but her baby will outgrow it, and as long as he gains weight, he'll be just fine. This little guy was certainly gaining weight and appeared to be very healthy, but it was that smile and that laugh...THAT LAUGH...that really made my day.
Every time I opened my mouth to speak to mom, which was often, baby would laugh and smile. And I would stop talking to laugh and smile back at baby. And mom would smile and laugh along and then comment on how her son thought that I was talking to him instead of about him. And the three-year-old sister was busy playing with my pink barbie doll Volkswagen Beetle with the sunroof, trying to figure out how she could get inside of it instead of just simply push it around the floor. (Which, by the way, every toddler who comes into my office attempts to get into the car by sticking their foot into the sunroof and then into the side door. It really is quite amusing!)
Our entertaining visit was nearing an end and mom was getting up to leave when she mentioned that she needed to send for a copy of her daughter's birth certificate which she had misplaced and then casually let it drop that she couldn't get her family into a homeless shelter without it. For the first time I noticed the stressed look on her face. I asked her if she was staying with family and she vaguely answered "No. Just around." I invited her to sit down once again while I gave her all of the information that I had for emergency shelter, food, clothing and baby items, which always seems so inadequate when what I'd really like to do is stay with her and help her resolve all of her difficulties. I offered her my prayers and best wishes and she was on her way.
But her baby stayed on my mind. His exuberant smile and laughter must be such a blessing to his mother whether he spits up or not. I recalled the days when my children were babies and how the days at home could drag on forever-there was always a dirty floor that needed cleaning, a pail of diapers that needed washing, toys underfoot, temper tantrums raging (usually mine!), and loneliness for adult conversation. But when my babies would smile and laugh, it made all of the troubles so worth it! There's no denying that the mother in my office had some serious problems, but for a little while she was able to put those troubles aside and laugh with her baby. How blessed that mother is to have such a joyful little son and how blessed we all are by the precious gift of life that only God can create.
40 Days for Life begins today. Will you fast and pray to save the life of a precious little baby who can bring happiness and sunshine into this often lonely and difficult world?