There’s a children’s book that starts with the sentence, “Little boy, so much depends on your yellow cup… a serenade to wake you up…” and so on.
Having birthed four boys, all of whom were attached to a blanket or a stuffed animal, I understand exactly what that first sentence means. By the grace of God we never lost the blue blankie that our first had every night and every naptime and every time he went to preschool and every time we went on an airplane. It was always there.
And when our second got attached to his floppy dog, again we never left home without that dog. And we never got back into the car and drove away from any place without making sure “Puddles” was safely in our little boy’s arms.
Even now, any of our boys can suddenly go from big boy to little boy in seconds if a routine, a tradition or the like is not happening just so. If our youngest sees that someone else has the Spiderman cup he received for his birthday, he goes bananas. If we tell our third child that we won’t be going to grandpa’s house this Sunday after all, tears spring from his eyes like a broken pipe in the wintertime.
On a more serious note, I pondered this “dependence” today as I sat with some kids who have little or no routine or toys or blankies to get attached to. I watched my little toddler friends as they didn’t care which sippy cup they received, as long as they received one. They didn’t care which blanket they napped on or which book they had, as long as they had one. It occurred to me that the issue for these children was not the blue blanket verses the yellow blanket; the issue was to scramble quickly enough to get a blanket and to have a book. How different our children’s lives may have been if I were in the same place as some of the women in this city who are doing their best to do what will benefit not only their own lives but the lives of their children day so one day little Douglas (names changed) and little Brooke will be able to have so much stability and routine in their lives that it will matter to them what doggie sleeps with them at night, and what cup they drink their milk from at breakfast. Their moms are working very hard for those routines and stability to happen. Each one of them inspires me and I see the hope in each of them that their kids will someday be dependent on their bedtime prayers, songs and favorite books.
And as much as we panic at the thought of losing any of these lovies our kids drag around, what sweet memories they will have when we pull them from their storage boxes and present them to them when they have their own families.
One of the prayers we say everynight to our children – even the 12 year old – is this: “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you. (then we added this weird rendition) May the angels stand around your beds and protect your tiny little heads. Lord, we thank you for…. and we ask for….. Amen.”
From birth, we’ve said it and i think it conforts them in a way that may not totally appreciate now but will somehow help them to know our love was there for them in these prayers. And if that’s the thing at night that everything else depends on, then I figure we’re not doing so bad.