Care for the Little

“Will you read that poem to me mom?” This literally came out of my son’s mouth recently. No, I am not living in some sort of utopian world where my children request poetry instead of watching another episode of Superhero Squad- and now Thomas the Tank engine has made his dreaded return now that Oswald is almost 2 and is allured by a smiling, talking train. But yes, my son Reuben did as me to read him this poem we have posted at the bottom of our staircase.

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In time of Silver Rain
by Langston Hughes

In time of silver rain
The earth puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads

Of Life,
Of Life,
Of life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth new leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,

In time of silver rain When spring
And life
Are new.

When I was little  my mom did something similar with my brother, sister and me.  The house I grew up in had an entryway with a large, blank wall. We would come in from the cold, snowy Upper Peninsula of Michigan days tromping home through the snow and kick off our wet boots in that entryway.  Though I’m sure she did it more than *once to occupy her three children under 5, my siblings being twins, I only remember Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and coloring snowmen, mittens, sleds and snowflakes on the large piece of butcher paper my mom had written the poem on.  *(my mom will read this blog three months from now and chastise me saying “I did that with you kids at least every month!”) That poem has stuck with me and inspired me to do the same with my children, letting their imagination express itself through coloring squiggly worms, butterflies and cicadas to signify the arrival of spring.  They may not remember this experience at all, in a few months (if I’m honest, it will probably be left up until August) it will be recycled, and who knows if my kids will ever remember Langston Hughes when they study him in high school English class.

As spring is quickly turning into summer I’ve been stressing out  about how I will occupy my kids this summer, which camps will enrich them to become well-rounded, athletic/artistic/compassionate/Jesus-loving/musical/scientific/curious children and how much I can actually afford to do so with all the offerings of lovely Cleveland institutions.  In the midst of this my friend Mike tweeted this quote:

“Everything is so little to God, that if he does not care for the little, he cares for nothing” – C. H. Spurgeon

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The little things. Not just little children, but the little things.  It made me think about the pressure all us moms feel to have uber-creative, enriching, connecting times with our kids while forgetting to care for the little. A simple poem scrawled on a piece of butcher paper, sitting and eating a dripping orange popsicle on a hot day, blowing dandelion puffs into the wind. God cares for the little giving us tiny gifts like this every day if we choose to enjoy and acknowledge them.  I know it’s not just moms either- doing something grandiose, the “go big or go home” mentality haunts us every day with the gifts we are expected to give or desire to receive (ahem, mothers day diamonds anyone? stupid Jared’s. Just shut up with your jingle already), accomplishments we expect ourself to achieve or standard of perfection of how we expect ourselves to look. Look to the little. Care for the little.  It matters to the people in your life- the friends you have, the children you care for the neighbor who you live near or the spouse you are called to love.  Words, deeds and thoughts all matter no matter how little they are. Go little and stay home. I think that might just be my mantra for the summer in figuring out what I can do to just be with my kids and discover what is all around us.

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