This is also a guest post on Chocolate on My Cranium
Teeny Tears and Helping Hands
While the majority of motherhood can be dull, tedious and sometimes extremely frustrating, I find I often get to see the tender moments between my kids and I can see exactly why Jesus asks us to be more like children. My oldest daughter (almost 9 yrs) is all about hard work and correctness. My other daughter (7 yrs) is selfless to a fault, she will give up anything and everything just to make one of her siblings happy. My first boy (4 yrs) is so in tune with his baby brother that he usually has taken care of him by the time I figure out that anything was wrong to begin with. It's so easy for me to notice these wonderful qualities in my kids... if I'm paying attention.
Unfortunately it's taken me a long time to pay attention. I don't know about you folks, but it seems I can never appropriately estimate how capable my children are. I am either expecting my four year old boy to clean up after himself (and anyone else that happens to forget to do so) and to keep his room clean to my high standards or I'm worrying that my nine year old daughter won't be able to dress herself correctly. No matter which way I err, my expectations are always blown.
In general I have found that our kids have much more ability than we give them credit for. I know from experience that an eight year old is perfectly capable of using a sewing machine to sew quilts and skirts. She can also prepare almost any dinner I can (she might not be able to lift the turkey from the oven, she can certainly clean it, dress it and prepare the onions and potatoes). And Children are naturally giving. Of course there is a certain amount of selfishness (two year old tantrums anyone?) it's only as they grow older that they turn spoiled and selfish if they are not corrected while younger.
Family service projects are so much easier than most people think. The difficulty comes when we automatically think of helping people move and other "heavy lifting" type projects. There is so much good we can do while in the comfort of our own home, and in some cases in front of our own TV! When it comes down to it, the problem isn't with the children.
Three years ago today, I received a phone call from my brother-in-law. He was calling to tell me that my sister Megan, 28 weeks pregnant, had been rushed to the hospital when her water broke. Her identical twin boys were delivered via emergency c-section. Dex was born weighing 2 pounds 1 oz. Crew weighed 1 pound 8 oz. Tragically, Dex was immediately taken home to his Heavenly Father due to complications of TTTS and Tiny Crew has had his work cut out for him ever since.
As you can imagine, the last three years has been filled with an infinite amount of heartache for their family. But there has also been an infinite amount of joy as their knowledge of the Restored Gospel testified that they are an eternal family.
As a way to help them through the pain of their loss, Megan has remembered some of the Lord's Tender Mercies surrounding Dex's death. She and her family are reaching out to other families who are suffering the way that they have.
Megan has started sewing diapers and miniature blankets at no charge to families that have suffered the loss of a preemie or micropreemie child. She says:
"The photos we have of our angel Dex are some of our greatest treasures. The tiny hand-made gown that had been donated with love is a keepsake that we cherish.
Our wish is to bless families that suffer the same heartache, providing their angel with a soft, beautiful diaper in which to be photographed and laid to rest. We provide two diapers per family, one for the baby and one for the family to keep in a memory box. We also make tiny micropreemie blankets that are appropriately sized for their beautiful little bodies. In addition, we sew itty bitty flannel positioning mats for the most fragile angels."
Though my heartache for Megan and her family pales in comparison to their own, we want to do what we can to help. I told myself not to underestimate the talents and abilities of my children and we started sewing diapers. It wasn't at all difficult to enlist their help.
I printed out the patterns and cut a template. After showing Lucy how to carefully cut out the fabric, I turned her loose.
Emma and Spencer helped pin.
And Lucy and I sewed the diapers together.
My heart ached as I held these tiny diapers in the palm of my hand. Sure that I had done something wrong, I called Megan in a well disguised panic in the middle of Crew's Physical Therapy appointment to make sure my measurements weren't off. Surely these diapers shouldn't be so small.
But they weren't too small. My heart breaks for the mothers and fathers of these angels.
I wish the word "service" didn't evoke images of moving furniture or scrubbing the floor of the neighborhood hoarder. Because in reality, service isn't hard, and in many cases, it's quite easy and fun. It can be as easy as baking an extra loaf of bread or pan of lasagna for a tired and pregnant friend. Inviting someone to drop her kids off so you can go grocery shopping isn't just a wonderful blessing when it happens to you.
And blowing the dust off of your fabric and setting your eight year old loose on the sewing machine allows you both to feel grateful for the blessings you usually take for granted as well as bless the lives of others.
They might be made of plain fabric and the seams may be as asymmetrical as only an eight year old can make them, but these diapers were made with love. They might not be perfect but there is no such thing as perfection in service. If there is, then willing heart and helping hands are all that it takes in order to reach it.
If you would like to know more about how you can help like this, go to TeenyTears.blogspot.com for patterns and instructions on sewing these diapers.