Earlier this month, I was sweating it out in the afternoon South Carolina sun. I was helping new students at Coastal Carolina University move into the residence halls on campus. Students and their families would pull up to the curb and I would help unload their refrigerators, fixtures, clothes, etc., into carts. I would then push the carts into the residence hall building I was assigned, drop them off to a fellow volunteer who was working the elevator, and then I would run up the stairs to whatever floor the particular student was living on. I would arrive on the floor a moment before the elevator doors opened, at which time I would transport the carts to the student’s room.
Throughout my three hour volunteer shift, I ran up and down those stairs a lot. I found myself in the zone, completely focused on the moving task at hand. Students, families, and staff members were using the stairs as well but I didn’t have much time to chat. In order to get to the cargo in time, I was weaving in and out of traffic. But then something made me stop dead in my tracks…
…it was a baby.
I took a moment to stop and give a big warm smile to both the mom and her little baby boy before getting back to my work.
Before I had Sloan, this never would have happened.
Although I have always thought babies were cute, I wasn’t necessarily a “baby person.” If I came across a newborn, I didn’t feel the need to “ooh” and “aww.” I wouldn’t be the person to outstretch my arms to hold one, I most likely wouldn’t offer to babysit, and I wouldn’t feel anything tugging at my heart.
It took me holding Sloan that first time to be completely transformed.
Ever since then, I have understood the innocence and meekness of a baby. I am now familiar with the long road it takes for a new human being to enter the world. I know all too well the pride a parent feels for his new daughter/son.
So, it might come as little surprise that I do a little better job recognizing both babies and their parents when we cross paths in public. Usually it is more than just a pause and smile. If I don’t have to worry about grabbing the entire contents of a young adult, I will briefly chat with the parents. What a beautiful baby you have! How old is she? What is her name?
If I am not in close range of the young family, I will still smile to myself. This past weekend at church, there was a baby girl sitting with her parents several pews away from Sidney and I. I couldn’t help but discuss with Sid how old we thought the little girl was and how she was making similar noises to that of Sloan.
God bless the people who have a soft spot for babies even before having one of their own. I feel bad that I didn’t feel a special fondness for little ones before we were given Sloan but I am grateful that my heart isn’t as hard anymore. Don’t Blink.