These Little Lights of Ours – Shining On With Good Night Lights

This is a sponsored post and we are incredibly grateful to Dunkin Donuts for putting together this fantastic event and trusting us to share it with you.

Large group of people at India Point Park participating in the Dunkin Donuts and Good Night Lights Block Party Event

I glossed over the details when telling my younger one what the night’s plans were (“We’re going to play at a playground! At night! To shine flashlights!”), but I explained it in greater detail to my six-year-old. I was surprised to find myself choking up as I told him about Good Night Lights. I told him about the kids who had to stay in the hospital because they were sick. I told him that years ago, a very nice man who volunteered at the hospital told a little boy that he would wish him a special good night. He told the little boy that if he looked out of his window at 8:30 at night, he’d see the man flash the light on his bicycle and the boy could shine a flashlight back. And so the man went to the park and blinked the light on his bicycle. And the boy shined a light back. And they knew they were thinking of each other. I told my son how the man told his friends. And the boy told his friends. And the friends told other friends. And now, all over the city, at 8:30 at night, people blink their lights to say “Good Night” to the kids at Hasbro. I told him that tonight we were going to say “good night” to the kids with our flashlights, and watch the lights blink “good night” back to us. 

He was quiet few minutes before replying, “Mom, I’m glad we’re going to do this.”

I was too.

I’ve been meaning to participate in Good Night Lights for years. Even before the tradition became as well known as it is, my family has participated. Each time one of my family members has posted the call on Facebook, I’ve tried to pull things together to go. But I’ve had three kids in the last six years and we all know what leaving the house at bedtime looks like. So it kept being pushed off. 

But last week, in conjunction with Iced Coffee Day, Dunkin Donuts organized a “Block Party” at India Point Park to support Good Night Lights and the kids at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Iced Coffee Day is Dunkin Donuts’ yearly fundraiser for Hasbro Children’s Hospital in which $1 from each iced coffee sold at Dunkin Donuts locations Rhode Island and Bristol County is donated to Hasbro. Since it’s inception in 2010, over $1 million has been raised through this initiative. This year, they rounded out the day with the Block Party/Good Night Lights signal.

People standing on the grass beside the water shining flashlights across the river as part of Dunkin Donuts Good Night Lights Block Party Event

It was just the push I needed to finally admit that as a mom of three, the stars will never align in a way that makes it easy to leave the house at bedtime. If I wanted to go, I just needed to go. 

And mamas, I’m here to tell you that it was worth it. Coupled with the thrill of playing on the playground (at night!!) was the emotional anticipation of what was about to happen. As 8:30 grew nearer, excitement and emotion grew in my heart.  I imagined the children inside Hasbro: having their dinner. Listening to doctors and parents talk around them. Watching the nurses end their shifts to go to their homes. Beginning the process of getting ready for bed with the awareness that they definitely were not going home.  I imagined them wondering which night nurse would be “theirs” for the shift. I imagined how quickly they adjust to the new normal of spending days and nights in a hospital. I wondered how quickly they begin to look forward to the flashing of lights, letting them know their community is supporting them?  

As 8:30 came, and the “SHINE” call was made, I wondered, do they ever get nervous that they will look out those hospital windows and see nothing? Thanks to Good Night Lights and Dunkin Donuts, this was not the case on May 23rd.  Over 200 people lined the park, cheering, flashing, and, at least in my case, crying.  As the lights began flashing, I watched my children’s faces light up, and I imagined the parents in those rooms watching the faces of their own children. 

Adults and Children holding up flashlights at night as they participate in the Good Night Lights signal.

Mamas, the night was inspiring. Not only did it bring cheer and joy to children and parents who live and breath “hospital” for far too long, but it gave us perspective and compassion and the opportunity to teach our children the same.  If we can be bold — we’re not willing to go back to “trying to get there.” We want to be there. For the children, for the mamas with them. And we’re going to make it a priority. Will you join us? 

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