I wake for what feels like the hundredth time of the night to the tiny cough of my toddler, echoing from the monitor on my nightstand. He falls back asleep quickly, but I can tell he’s restless. In the morning, I pull him into my arms and rub his back trying to break up everything that’s settled over night. I love you buddy. I’ll get you some new, clean, soft sheets tonight, I tell him and carry him downstairs for breakfast. After he leaves for daycare I strip his crib and pull on a new sheet. Then I set to arranging the 4 trillion animals and blankets he sleeps with every night. How they all fit is a mystery, but not as much as his ability to recall even one that might be missing on any particular night.
I look down in the crib as the sun filters through the window and lands right on the newly made bed. Clean, soft sheets I think to myself. Something my mother always said to me when I had been sick. What is it about putting new sheets on the bed that just made everything feel better? It’s not that the previous sheet was rough or dirty, or sub-par in any way. There’s just something about those fresh, newly cleaned sheets that makes things right, like the sun that has long been hiding behind grey skies of snow, now shining through the window.
This winter feels too long. It’s always one of my favorite seasons, and I love the snow, but something about just how cold it’s been has ruined the fun of it already. We’re on our umpteenth cold that we just keep passing around our family and I can’t knock the chill in the house. We’ve played with every toy, “recycled” the old ones from the basement, and our creativity is dwindling. But as I lay my toddler down to sleep and watch him wiggle and snuggle into his bed (while taking inventory of his animal friends) I imagine him drifting off to sleep without a worry in the world and all the coziness of those new sheets surrounding him.
It’s a small gesture, but something my mom did for me and now I can share with him. I think of the impression such a simple gesture made on my life – like a warm hug when things don’t feel right. It makes me think of all the other small things my mother did for me, that probably went unnoticed, to help me feel better and make my life easier. There are the obvious things of course – driving me places, helping with homework, and the ‘normal’ things – but what about the small simple things? She always had small ways of showing her love.
That’s my challenge to myself (and YOU) this month. Make a list of all the small gestures that show others; kids, spouses, family, how much you love them and to thank them for all they’ve done. Let’s help spread some warmth and light in this otherwise seemingly grey, cold winter.
Here’s a few ideas I’ve already started on for sharing love:
- Give in to crazy toddler ideas (occasionally). The other night my son wanted to eat his dinner at a small table in the playroom, usually reserved for coloring, stickers, etc. I heard the word ‘no’ before he even finished asking, I paused for a second and thought why not!? For one night, what would it really hurt? So we crowded around the little play table for a fun dinner.
- Do something unexpected. My husband and I both work from home full time (how we make this work is a story for another day J), which means deciding who is picking up our son is usually a last minute call based on who’s free by 5 o’clock. Last week my husband went to get our son so I decided my last few emails could wait. I got dinner going, washed up the dishes, and got the kitchen clean. When he walked in there was nothing to do but eat, enjoy, and spend some time as a family.
- Send a note. My mother lives two houses down and inevitably that means she’s our go to when I’m half way through a recipe and realize we have no brown sugar, or I’m out of town for work and want to make sure my husband is eating real food – cereal is not ok for dinner multiple nights in a row. Even though I see her several times a week, it can be hard to really show our thanks. My goal this month is to send a quick card or thank you note. It’s a great way to say thanks and show appreciation. This works great for parents, grand-parents, or even girlfriends going through a rough time.
What things are you planning on or can you start doing to share you love?