Protection Stories, by Jaimmie Stugard

Jaimmie writes:  When my husband asked what I wanted for my first Mother’s Day, I told him I wanted to go camping.  So we packed up too much gear and our nearly one-year-old baby and headed out to nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest.  It was cold and rainy at night and the gravel-covered site was swarming with biting gnats during the day.  With the baby in the sling, we hiked trails that were buried under increasingly large, swampy puddles until the marshes and the mosquitoes compelled us to turn back.  Of course, we had a splendid time. While Shawn set up camp and chopped wood, Elliot imitated him, hammering away at logs with his little wooden toy. It occurred to me that in the outdoors, our roles are reversed. When we camp, papa is the homemaker and the chef, cooking our dinner over an open fire and erecting our canvas shelter.  Watching papa and his apprentice chop wood for the fire seemed especially appropriate and satisfying on this Mother’s Day retreat.  Later, we had a little campfire and did some star-gazing with the sleeping baby in our arms.  Eventually, the clouds covered the stars and a trickle of rain encouraged us to turn in for the night.

As I lay the baby down to sleep, all bundled up in his woolens and his down bunting, the rain started to drip from the sky.  He gazed in wonder and apprehension at the droplets falling on the roof of our tent.  The baby who was so drowsy moments ago was now curious and a bit alarmed at the sights and sounds of the approaching storm.  Thunder rumbled in the distance and the wind howled through the kettles making strange, eerie sounds.  I started to sing a song I’d never heard before; the words and the melody poured through me like the rain poured from the clouds above…

            All the rain is falling down, Hear the rain falling down. 

            All the rain is falling down, Hear the rain falling down.

            We all lie snuggling in our shelter, Feel the safety of our shelter. 

            We all lie snuggling in our shelter, Feel the comfort of our shelter.

I sang this simple lullaby over and over and watched as the little one drifted off to sleep.  The raindrops slowed to a soothing trickle and we all snuggled up close under lots of blankets, warming and comforting each other through the night.

A few days later, stormy weather invited me to sing the rain song at LifeWays.  I sang while I swept the floors and thunder cracked and lightening flashed in the dark, gray sky.  I sang while we washed dishes, while the children played around me and as I tucked them in for rest. That afternoon at nap, my muses visited again and I sat in my rocking chair while the children (a few of them uneasy about the thunder) listened to the rain, the thunder, the kinderlyre and Miss Jaimmie’s familiar voice telling a new story about their woodland friends…

It was a cool, early spring day.  All of the woodland creatures were out at play.  Mother bunny led her little baby bunnies hippity hoppity, hippity hoppity through the wood.  Down in the clearing, papa turtle guided his little ones slowly, slowly toward the riverside.  Deep in the river, a family of geese waded in the water.  Mother goose and father gander paddled along with their goslings close behind.  Honk, honk. Splash, splash.  Honk, honk.  Splash, splash.  A little ways away, mother duck was followed by a tidy little row of ducklings.  Every now and then mother duck would peek her head down into the water, fishing for a tasty treat for her little ones.  And on they swam.  Quack, quack.  Splash, splash. Quack, quack. Splash, splash.  While high up above, a woodpecker could be heard peck, peck, pecking at the trees.  Peck, peck. Peck, peck. Down below, the clever gnome worked diligently, tidying his gnome home.  Sweeping and mopping. Dusting and scrubbing.  Washing and washing all through the day.  Meanwhile, deep in the wood, the fairies were dancing in a ring.  Beautiful songs of spring they did sing. 

Suddenly, Brother Wind blew, and a blanket of gray clouds covered the sky.  Drip.  Drip drop. Drip drop, plip plop.  And the rain came tumbling down.  Quickly, mother bunny led her little ones to the safety of an evergreen bush.  The broad evergreens drank up the rain as it fell from the sky, leaving the earth below nice and dry.  Each little bunny cuddled up closely to their mother’s soft, warm fur.  They could hear her heart beating.  They could see the rain falling.  It was all so, so soothing that soon all of the bunnies were a-snoozing.

Meanwhile, down in the clearing, papa turtle showed his little baby turtles how to tuck their head, feet and tails inside their shell, their take-along shelter.  The turtles curled up in their warm, dark shells and listened to the rain tip, tap on their rooftop.  The sound of the rain was so very soothing, that soon the turtles were all a-snoozing.

Down by the riverside, Mother goose and father gander tucked their little goslings under their warm, waterproof wings.  The geese watched as the rain rippled on the water and dozed off’ nestled together.  A little ways downstream, the duck family was doing the same thing, while high up above, the woodpecker stood perfectly still under a branch that was just the right size to keep him dry.  He tucked his beak to his breast and watched as the rain fell on the sleepy forest floor.  In no time at all, the woodpecker was dozing.

Meanwhile, down below, the clever gnome sat quietly in his cozy, tidy gnome home.  Tired from his hard work and satisfied with a job well done, the gnome drifted off to sleep to the sound of the rain pitter-pattering at his windowpane.  Deep in the wood, the fairies were snuggled together underneath the may-apples, the umbrella trees, in a little fairy cuddle puddle.  The sound of the fairies snoring could almost be heard between raindrops.  Indeed, it seemed as though all of the creatures of the wood were fast asleep that drippy afternoon, as Mother Earth seemed to sing them a sweet lullaby…

                All the rain is falling down, Hear the rain falling down. 

                All the rain is falling down, Hear the rain falling down.

                We all lie snuggling in our shelter, Feel the safety of our shelter. 

                We all lie snuggling in our shelter, Feel the comfort of our shelter.

© 2012 by Jaimmie Stugard
All rights reserved

Jaimmie Stugard has been a caregiver at the Milwaukee LifeWays for nearly ten years.  She is grateful that she is able to bring her own little ones with her to LifeWays each day.  She is also the music teacher in the Wisconsin LifeWays Training.

We thank you for stopping by to enjoy this article. If you would like to share your experiences working with children in a LifeWays home or center, please feel free to contact Mara Spiropoulos at linearmara@gmail.com. She would be thrilled to work with you to share your wisdom and experiences on the LifeWays blog.

2 Comments for “Protection Stories, by Jaimmie Stugard”

Renee

says:

great post
thanks so much for sharing this. i love this story. i love how children get so engrossed in the details and i love making up new details each time i tell a story.