Sometimes kids wake up for no apparent reason and need a lot of help going back to sleep. Sometimes even older kids wake up and decide they need a hug, or to lie on your lap, or to have their back rubbed, or all three at once. Sometimes you end up awake all night, just taking care of your kids.
Maybe you had planned to spend the first odd night of the last ten nights of Ramadan in prayer, but Allah had other plans. Maybe He wanted to reward you twice: once for your intention to spend the night in prayer, and once again for your action of lovingly and patiently nurturing your children.
Or maybe you had just planned to go to bed, but Allah had other plans. Maybe you would have missed out on what was actually Laylat ul-Qadr, but He didn’t let that happen. Maybe you spent the night doing something better than sleep: caring for your family and being grateful for the blessings of a house full of children.
Or perhaps the night was a test: do you show mercy or do you tend toward harshness?
The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.”
How can we hope to receive Allah’s blessings and forgiveness in these blessed nights without showing mercy and compassion ourselves? After all, we are even more dependent on Allah and in need of His help than our children are in need of us.
When our nights get interrupted by waking children, why not use that as an opportunity? One of the most selfless good deeds is that of a parent taking care of their children. Why not ask Allah for what we need, through the act of that good deed?
‘Usaamah ibn Zayd said that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to take him and place him on his thigh, and he would place al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali on his other thigh, then he would come close to them and say, “Oh Allah! Be merciful to them, for indeed, I am merciful to them.”
Oh Allah, help us to see the wisdom behind Your changes to our plans;
help us take advantage of all opportunities for good in this life;
soften our hearts and place love and mercy within them;
and show mercy on us, for You are Ar-Rahmaan and we were created weak.