Jacob’s wife died in childbirth, and he was left to raise his daughter alone. He was cautious with her, but he couldn’t handle his workload and the child-rearing duties alone. One morning, he woke up and saw a pin in her crib that could’ve hurt her, then someone surprising knocked on the door.
“Jacob, your job is on the line. We have been patient with everything you have gone through, but your performance at work has been less than ok. We are officially placing you on probation,” Jacob’s boss, Mr. Clemens, told him. He could tell that the older man was sad about it, and Jacob didn’t have any excuses.
He often missed work, forgot about important meetings, and slacked on several projects. The fact they weren’t firing him ultimately was a miracle. “Mr. Clemens, I assure you. I’ll work something out. I just have to figure out what to do about Gigi,” he replied, thankful that he still had a job.
Jacob was struggling with his baby and his job. | Source: Pexels
Jacob hired a nanny so he could go to work, but he couldn’t afford it forever, and unfortunately, Gigi was a fussy baby. She cried all the time, and nothing would soothe her at night. It was as if she knew something was missing.
He wished that his wife, Rita, was around for the thousandth time. She died on the birthing table, and it was the worst moment of his life. He had promised himself to care for Gigi like gold, and now he was failing. He couldn’t lose his job, but he had no idea how to calm her and settle their lives.
The one thing that calmed Gigi down was riding in the car once in a while, so one day, he took her out right before bedtime. Luckily, she fell asleep, and they returned home. He got her out of the car seat and gently laid her down on the living room crib. After heaving a huge sigh, he sat down on the couch and reclined his head on the back cushions. He didn’t notice when he fell asleep.
Gigi was awake and it was time for breakfast. | Source: Pexels
The following morning, he woke up surprised that he was still on the couch. He looked around and noticed that Gigi was awake and making noises. Fortunately, she wasn’t crying, but it was time for breakfast.
As he grabbed her from the crib, something caught his eye. There was a shiny pin on her crib. That was strange. Jacob was careful never to leave anything pointy around his daughter. He even stopped using buttoned shirts so she wouldn’t accidentally pull and put them in her mouth. This was so weird.
“I’m going to have a talk with Sabrina about this,” he resolved, referring to his nanny.
But there was a knock on the door right then. Jacob placed the baby in her crib again and went to answer it. “Mrs. Neal, good morning,” he said, looking at the smiling face of his next-door neighbor.
“Hello, Jacob. I need to tell you something,” the older woman began.
“Oh, no. Did the baby cry last night? I didn’t wake up once, but it’s entirely possible. I know it’s probably been hard on you all these months, Mrs. Neal,” Jacob began apologizing but stopped when the older woman put her hands up.
Mrs. Neal came to tell him something shocking. | Source: Pexels
“Jacob, Jacob. Listen. I’m not upset. Not anymore, at least,” Mrs. Neal retorted. “Last night, I heard Gigi crying terribly. It was 2 a.m. and she wouldn’t seem to stop. I came here and knocked on your door several times. I was actually pretty angry. You didn’t answer. But your door was unlocked, so I came in.”
“Oh no! I left the door unlocked! What is wrong with me?” Jacob lamented, rubbing his hair in frustration and sitting down on the couch. Mrs. Neal made her way inside and closed the door.
“It’s ok. It was only me, and I tried to close it well when I left. But anyway, I picked up Gigi last night and rocked her to sleep as best I could. She settled after about an hour, and all my anger melted away. I just wanted to let you know,” the older woman explained, sitting opposite him on the other sofa.
He thanked the older woman and thought he was a terrible father. | Source: Pexels
“Thank you, Mrs. Neal. She could’ve cried all night. I don’t understand how I didn’t hear her,” he added, touching his face and looking at his daughter with a pained expression. “I’m a terrible father.”
“You’re not. You just need help, and I came here to offer it after what I witnessed yesterday. I’ve noticed that you sometimes have a nanny, but I know it’s hard to pay for one these days. Why don’t I watch Gigi while you go to work? I can do it every day for free,” she offered, surprising Jacob completely.
He shook his head. “I couldn’t burden you like that.”
“It’s no burden. Sometimes, son, you have to accept help, even if you don’t want to admit you need it.”
Jacob asked Mrs. Neal about what he had discovered in the crib. | Source: Pexels
“I know… it’s just… wait a minute… is this yours?” Jacob stood up and grabbed the safety pin he had left on top of a cabinet nearby. He showed it to Mrs. Neal.
“Oh dear. I left that here. I’m sorry,” the older woman got up and grabbed it. “I had lost a button yesterday and used it to keep my shirt in place.”
“Thank God. I thought I was going crazy because it was in Gigi’s crib,” Jacob explained, and they both sat down on the couch again. “I think I’m going to take you up on that offer. I don’t really trust my nanny, and I could use all the help I can get. Are you sure it’s not too much?”
“I’m completely sure. All my kids are grown-ups with their own babies, but they don’t visit Florida that much. So Gigi can be my grandbaby in their stead,” Mrs. Neal replied with a broad smile and laughed.
“Thank you. Thank you so much,” Jacob said, almost reduced to tears by her generosity.
Mrs. Neal watched Gigi every day and became like her grandmother. | Source: Pexels
Gigi spent almost every day with Mrs. Neal, and Jacob was able to focus on work without any distractions. He got off probation and was eventually promoted.
The little girl grew up thinking that Mrs. Neal was her real grandmother, and the older woman loved it. She understood that helping her neighbor instead of yelling at him for the noise was the best choice she had ever made.
What can we learn from this story?
- It’s best to understand a situation thoroughly before getting angry. Mrs. Neal was going to yell at her neighbor for the noise Gigi made often. But she realized that he genuinely needed help.
- Learn to accept help when you need it. Jacob didn’t want to admit to anyone that he was struggling, but Mrs. Neal saw right through him. She made him accept help, and everything worked out eventually.
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