A couple of weeks ago during one of our reading sessions with a group that visits our PajamaProgram.org regularly, we noticed that one little boy who had been attending our readings on and off was here again. I asked a staff member about it and she told me there were multiple attempts to secure a home for him with various family members but, so far, it hadn't been working out. I immediately felt like someone kicked me in the stomach... what must it feel like to be shuffled back and forth, feeling "unwanted?" That's how I would feel, I thought. How was this little boy -- only 7 years old -- equipped to deal with this disappointment and heart break? I'm an adult and I know I would cry myself to sleep every night. Is that what he does?
There are those jarring moments in life when reality sets in. Moments like the realization that not everyone is lining up to take in that little boy. Moments like right now when I realize "Danger Season" is here and it's the most difficult time for these children. It's bad enough they are searching for someone to love them, but now nighttime is even harder for them to sleep through.
Temperatures are dropping at night and they are cold, afraid and lonely. Bedtime becomes a scary time when worries escalate and shivers set in. Dreams turn into nightmares. Many of the children have been abused or abandoned and taken away from their home and school. So many are left without a family and friends and without hope -- they feel like they don't belong anywhere or to anyone. Warm, clean pajamas help them get through the cold night and are like a warm hug before they go to bed. Books can help them dream about what they want to be when they grow up.
Now through March 31st we are sensitive to dropping temperatures and how low they might go. What will this year bring? No one knows but we'll do our best to deliver thousands of warm pajamas and comforting storybooks to these children for bedtime. We'll warm their hearts and send them soundly off to sleep... and help them keep their dreams alive.