When small children are feeling hurt–on the inside or on the outside–they need to know that they can turn to someone for comfort, acceptance, and love. They need to know that there is someone they can trust. With our big-person problems, it can be challenging to find patience for a little child’s hurt. But we must. We must show our children that they can trust us and that we will be here for them when need us. Otherwise they turn to others, often less trustworthy, or attempt to bury their pain deep inside, where it festers. I wrote the poem “My Child” when Erin first went to a church nursery class at 18 months old. I sat on the floor in the corner of room, keeping as low a profile as possible while she interacted with the other children and adults. Erin came to me a time or two when her anxiety overcame her tranquility. When she felt safe, she ventured off to play again. She has now ventured off into the wide world, though she checks in once in awhile.
clinging to me.
Soft cheek against my roughness,
delicate arms draped over my drooping shoulders.
Soothe your fears.
Let your tears fall and
wet my sleeve.
Let your love flow and
seep into my craggy heart.
Soon healed, your troubles forgotten,
release and turn away to play,
a smile on your small-child face,
a greater love in me.