From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

Sometimes, Babies Get in the Way

When you carry out acts of kindness, you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.

Harold Kushner

“A swing set! We have a swing set!” Six-year-old Sarah sprang out of bed. From her bedroom window, she could see the new addition in the back yard.

“Can I play on it right now?” she asked her mother.

“Sure,” her mom said, and in an instant, Sarah was outside. She didn’t even change out of her pajamas!

In the yard, Sarah checked out the new equipment; two swings, a slide, and a clubhouse. She was so busy she didn’t notice that her mother had followed her outside.

“Dad and I know you’ll be a wonderful big sister,” her mother said, “so we wanted to get you something special. Besides, after the baby is born, we may not be able to go to the park as often as you’d like. Now you can play out here as much as you want.”

Sarah’s mother was going to have a baby any day now, and the doctor had told her to stay off her feet as much as possible. Sarah’s father was spending more time at his office than usual, finishing up a big project so he could take time off when the baby came. That meant Sarah had to hang around the house a lot. She tried to keep herself busy by making decorations for the new baby’s room. She’d spent hours making signs and drawings to welcome the new baby home. But now that she had a swing set, hanging around the house would be a lot more fun.

Later that week, the baby was born. Sarah had a new sister, and her name was Charlotte.

When Mom and Charlotte came home from the hospital, Sarah held her new sister in her lap, and Dad took pictures. Sarah showed Charlotte all the decorations she’d made for her room.

“I think it’s time for Mom and Charlotte to rest now,” said Dad. “Let’s go out in the yard to give them some quiet.”

Sarah was deciding whether to swing or slide first when she noticed something moving. At the base of the ladder, she saw a clump of dried grass. It was covering a small hole, and something in the hole was moving. She gently pushed the grass aside with her foot and was surprised to discover three baby rabbits!

Sarah replaced the grass that had been covering them and ran to tell her Dad.

“Dad! Dad! There are baby rabbits in the back yard! A mother rabbit had babies, just like Mom!”

Tugging him by the arm, she led him over to the ladder where the bunnies were hiding. It was then that Sarah realized she wouldn’t be able to use the swing set without stepping in the hole.

“Great,” she said. “Because of Charlotte, I can’t play inside. And because of the bunnies, I can’t play outside, either.” It seemed like nothing was going right, and so Sarah began to cry.

“Hold on, hold on,” said Dad. “There has to be a solution. I’m going to make a few calls.”

Sarah waited outside until her dad came back.

“I called the nature center,” he said. “They told me that I could use a big snow shovel to scoop up the bunnies and move them to a different spot.”

“Then let’s do it,” said Sarah. “Let’s move them someplace else.”

“But,” said Dad, “They also said that if I move the bunnies, there’s a chance the mother rabbit won’t want to take care of them anymore.”

He headed to the garage to get the snow shovel. Sarah saw the bunnies moving around in the hole. What would they do without a mother to take care of them?

“Wait!” Sarah shouted. “Leave the bunnies where they are!”

“If I leave them there, you won’t be able to play on the swing set. It may take a few weeks until they’re ready to leave,” Dad replied.

Sarah thought for a minute. She really wanted to play on her swing set, but . . .

“Dad, what if you and Mom came home from the hospital with our new baby, and our home wasn’t here anymore? Where would we go? Where would we live? It would be terrible if it happened to us, so why should we do that to the rabbit family?”

As soon as Sarah said it, she knew she had made a good decision.

“You’re absolutely right, honey,” Dad said. “If it’s okay with you, I’ll leave them alone. How about if we take a walk to the park?”

“Maybe later, Dad,” Sarah said. “I need to do something first!”

Sarah returned with a stack of paper and her crayons.

“What are you making?” Dad asked.

“I’m making a ‘Welcome Home’ sign,” she said, “for the bunnies!”

Ruth B. Spiro

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