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Friday, October 7, 2016

tiny sphere

I've been quiet here.  I think we've just been trying to find a new rhythm with school starting back up. Having one in elementary school, one in preschool, and a baby means lots of juggling schedules and a lot of transition in most of our days.  We've just been trying to hang on for dear life, and put some systems in place that will keep the peace (if that's even a thing for families with little ones).

I'm head down over here.  Transitioning myself to a world that seemed to shrink over night with the starting of school and a baby needing to nap smack in the middle of that time.  We stick close to home most days which is a huge change for me.  My sphere of influence feels immediately under our roof.

I'm learning the art of staying home.  Not "staying at home" as in being a stay-at-home mom, but literally staying home.  Not going anywhere.  Not trying to fill our time and days with playdates and outings simply to keep busy.  Focusing on our home and learning how to manage it better and more consistently.  Focusing on actually getting on the floor and playing with my kids, and not allowing the to-do list to hijack the entire day.   More days end than I'd like to admit with me sneaking in their rooms to tuck them into covers that have been kicked off and staring at their sleeping, squishy faces wishing I'd been more present with them that day.  Did I look them in the eye enough when they had a question or wanted to tell me something?  Did I give the impression that I was too busy for them?  Did they feel loved?

Tell me you do this too??  I simply cannot wait for them all to be asleep and for the "Mom!, Mom!, Mom!'s" to stop, and then all I want to do is go in and soak up their sleeping angelic faces.  Gosh, I love them. And I seem to remember and feel that a lot more when no one's fighting, throwing a tantrum,  or whining about what I made for dinner.  

My oldest just started first grade this year, and I'm sitting here watching the lightbulb of self-awareness flicker on.  For the first time, she's realizing that she will be evaluated and judged in school. Tests have started, and a subsequent realization that somehow her score is a reflection of her value and that top scores are highly regarded.  Even her pediatrician asked her if she makes good grades. Geez.  I'm sitting here wondering, "Can't she just be kid for a little longer?"  She seems so young, so not ready to bear the weight of this inevitable pressure.   So, I let her make clothes for her dolls out of her socks and underwear, just because designing is her jam...and I order her some more when I realize she has none left and the shoes she's worn sock-less smell like a frog crawled in there and died.  But hey, all in the name of artistic expression, right?  She spends more time upside down than right side up, honing her gymnastics moves, and I cheer her on, regardless of the fact that she's probably going to be 6 feet tall when she's grown.   She will face enough naysayers in her life.  I don't have to be one too.

My middle somehow grew when I wasn't looking.  He still feels baby to me, but he's almost 5.  I feel like I missed the whole last year with him.  It's all a sleep-deprived blur and somewhere in there he started writing his name and throwing a mean spiral.  His favorite questions are, "Does this look scary?  Is this dangerous?" He's all guts and glory, but with a deep need for belonging and connection.  An insatiable need for belonging and connection.  I'm busy loving on him and trying not to flip my lid when he flips his.  He is big and bold with his emotions (kind of like his mama), but his heart is golden and generous and often surprising.

My little demands our attention.  She's feisty and fierce and makes her presence known.  The root of her name means persistence, and she definitely lives up to that.  She may not be walking yet at 15 months, but she gets around faster than a speeding bullet and climbs everything she can.  Lately, her communication seems to have exploded, and I see her wheels turning, figuring out everything around her.  She lights up when she sees us, calling out the truth and beauty in each one of us.  She is the arc in our family...the little bit that encloses the circle and brings us all back around to ourselves.

These kids.  They've wrecked my life for the better.

Sometimes...often...I want more.  I want God to call me to do something great.  I often need to be reminded that raising these tiny humans is something great.  Like the prophet Isaiah, I want to say, "Here I am!  Send me!"  And as those words leave my lips, God replies, "But will you stay?"  Is it that "here I am" for me means not that I will go, but rather that I will stay and be fully present in this moment.  Here I am in this most important moment with these most important tiny humans.  One day they will grow into big humans.  One day, my tiny sphere of influence, my three littles, will reach out into a big, bad world and hopefully be a beacon of light.  Hopefully, they will be kind and courageous men and women.

For now, we will practice the art of staying home, of loving each other even when it's hard, of celebrating our sameness and our differences, and of laughing a lot.

Mamas, we are called to this beautiful, sticky mess every single day and bravery in that is to simply keep showing up.  Keep making the lunches and kissing the owies and juggling the schedule and cheering on silliness and wiping bottoms and breaking up fights and giving encouragement and being present.  Keep showing up, and our tiny sphere will become the greatest work of our lives.

Every day is a little life, and our whole life is but a day repeated. 
~Joseph Hall


  1. Amy Whitaker Steingard this is absolutely beautiful. On point. Resonating deep into my soul. Thank you and yesssss! Every day and every moment. Present. Thankful for your heart, friendship and your gift with communication and the written word. Keep it coming sister💗

    1. My long lost sister! Thank you so much for always believing in me. I feel so amazingly blessed to be your friend!

  2. I love this and feel/felt so many of those things. Years ago I had that conversation with God where he reminded me He was asking me to stay, and a lot of times that felt harder and took more faith. Keep writing. And you're a great mom!

    1. Thanks so much, Jody! I love watching your family from afar and following your adventures. YOU are a great mom!

  3. Amy. This is beautiful. My children are grown and I have felt that way over the years. Did I give them enough of me? But, I related more now to my marriage. Due to our career choices Fannie and work different shifts. I get home after she goes to bed. I have the same feelings about her as you do about your children. Did I tell her, let her know that I love her? Am I letting her know that despite we don't have much if any time together on work days that she still is the most important person in my life? This post can relate to all personal relationships. You are an awesome person and brilliant writer.

    1. Thanks, Merrill! So awesome that you can relate to this with your marriage and memories of your own kids. I think you might be my only male reader (besides my husband and he has no choice) but I love it!! Thanks for always being so encouraging.


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