It’s the end of a long day of caring for sick children. No, not my own. They belong to a couple whose job often calls them away to tend to others’ needs at the sacrifice of some of their time together as a family. I am the children’s teacher, and I usually enjoy being a substitute parent, but not this week.
“I’m feeling overtired, run down, and stressed,” I grumble. “I’m way behind on the dishes and laundry, and I’m missing a beach trip with my friends to instead take care of a bunch of coughing, sniffling, whiny kids. The kids are having their midday nap, and my day still stretches before me. I haven’t had enough sleep or fresh air for days now. I’m not meant do this. I’m not their mother. Mothers have the patience, the selflessness, the unconditional love for their children to put up with all this! Not me. These kids are driving me crazy!”
A creak on the stairs tells me somebody’s awake. It’s two-year-old Susy. “What do you need, Susana?”
She pauses for half a second, then runs to me, throws her little arms around my neck, and whispers, “I love you!” Then she turns and runs back to bed.
I hear four-year-old Martin stirring, so I go to check on him. He opens one eye and mumbles sleepily, “You’re the bestest teacher ever!” Something about the way he smiles when he says that…
I think about their pure-hearted love and how they’ve adopted me. I remember all the laughs, the hugs, the discoveries we’ve shared.
Suddenly I’m not so tired anymore. I remember what Jesus said about loving the little people, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).
We’re going to have our best day yet! I’m sure there is a way to build a three-ring circus in the sick room. And when they reach that tired, grumpy hour before dinner, I’ll just shoot up a prayer and ask for some of the Lord’s unconditional love. And I’ll thank God for the blessing of having these kids to care for.