write on.

The quiet moments, the you and me moments are few and far between these days, my girl. When we have them I feel like they’re stolen. If your brother were to know we were perched in the kitchen, drawing and writing together, munching on chocolate chips while he finished up his nap (and hollered for us a few times too many) he would surely splay himself out on his back, wailing, as is his customary fit-pose these days.

But he didn’t know. And we pretended not to hear his quiet calling. At least for a few more secret minutes.


(look mommy, it’s me…with elbows!)

Watching you learn to write ignites a magical flickering fire in my heart. I’ve told your daddy for weeks now that if you would just listen to me I could teach you to write. To communicate! Before you and your brother and photography, it was my passion. Teaching young children who had something to say, to write it. Nothing brought me greater joy.

But as lovely and lovable as you are, you are also your mother’s daughter. Which means words of direction must be few and far between lest the pen go flying and the daggers from the eyes follow suit. I understand you, my child, even when it’s maddening. So I leave you in your own thoughtful world to draw yourself and your family and your elbows. With a sprinkling of moms and dads and sarahs here and there. Learning as you go. On your own.


But it’s coming. The strings of broken, disjointed consonants and vowels and the incessant how-do-you-spells. I’ll wait for you to ask me. Because I know that’s the only way true learning happens – in it’s own time.


And in the meantime I’ll be here to slyly mention on the way to school that Cobb is an easy name to spell. Aren’t we lucky! C-O-B-B!


And when I pick you up at the end of the morning and your teacher reports that you sat down first thing, grabbed a crayon and a color sheet and wrote proudly at the top of the page: S-A-R-A-H-C-O-B-B, I’ll be cool.

I wouldn’t want you to think I might have actually taught you something.

Janelle AndersonSeptember 30, 2009 - 8:05 pm

Oh, I love this! Lucas is right there too but he asks me all day long how to spell every word he can think of. His writing still focuses on L-U-C-A-S in various forms and order but it makes me smile. To think of them as babies just a few years ago and now, seeing them learn and grow and ask “Mommy, when can I go to High School”…the time slips away so fast but what wonderful memories we have. Thank you for this post. I love S-A-R-A-H-C-O-B-B and her elbows! Oh, we are back from our month long tour of the West! One heck of a rode trip I’ll be blogging all about. 🙂

MeganSeptember 30, 2009 - 9:28 pm

Oh, welcome to my world!

rachelzanaSeptember 30, 2009 - 10:22 pm

Oh. I have that same passion about emergent writing (and middle school writing, and high school writing, and grown up writing, for that matter). It’s hidden down under those same passions of photography and the joys of being a mom to three kidlets and the wonders of teaching piano to lots of students and the frenzy of teaching music and movement classes to preschoolers. But the passion for kid writing is there. And it comes burbling up to the surface. And like you, I have to be a bit sneaky about it with my kidlets. Not many people see my private jig of joy when the little people in my life start stringing letters together and then sounding out words with inventive spelling and THEN using wonderful, creative details to voice their ideas. But I LOVE it.

MomOctober 1, 2009 - 8:13 am

I love reading your voice here, Deed. You have done well answering your callings in life, my girl, — teaching, photography, family — and have incorporated all of those so poignantly in this post.

SallyOctober 1, 2009 - 8:33 am

This was wonderful. I love reading your writing and this post just highlights the superb example you’re setting for your children. They will find their voices, but when they struggle to have something to say, you’ve given them proof it can be done beautifully. Well done!

KathyOctober 1, 2009 - 9:09 am

Thank you sooo much for reminding me of how excited I am that my daughter is learning to read and write. It thrills me when she sounds-out a word and reads line by line with her “magic reading finger.” I must admit that I have been losing my patience with the constant “how do you spell” question, but I think I will appreciate it a bit more now. Thanks!

P.C.October 1, 2009 - 10:56 am

Great job! Funny…I am going to do a post about drawing/writing/spelling too (whenever I get around to it). L has the easiest name to spell and write!
P.S. I’m still waiting for the teachers to say I’m “cool,” because L flips all her coloring sheets over to write her name & the teachers only look at the front & sees her wild crazy coloring job 🙂

j.j.October 1, 2009 - 11:59 am

i don’t think you have long to wait – alla wrote a thank you letter to megan yesterday that just amazed me. something about them just sitting there and sounding it out how it makes sense to them, and suddenly it flows. much smoother than ‘how do you spell’ for some reason. i know, i can hardly believe it, too – you captured it perfectly!

JoeyOctober 1, 2009 - 1:44 pm

I know that my Katelyn refuses to let me teach her anything. She knows that teaching reading and gymnastics are two of my great loves, so those are the two things I had better never mention around her because she doesn’t want to hear anything from mama…only HER teachers and coaches. You know kids are always different with their mamas for some reason.

JenniferOctober 1, 2009 - 3:10 pm

I know that photography and your babies are your life (right now) but I always think of how many Kindergarteners are missing out on such a wonderful teacher!!

MomOctober 1, 2009 - 3:36 pm

I keep coming back to these pictures, studying her long fingers and eye lashes, and how hard she is concentrating. I love these.

AmyOctober 3, 2009 - 7:46 am

Oh, I love that girl (and her Momma)! This just makes me smile!

RachaelOctober 6, 2009 - 12:05 am

It is surely evident that writing is indeed a gift you so gracefully possess! Your wit, your tone, your fantabulous story-telling abilities, and also your genuity. All of these things truly mesh together into a pleasant visit to your world via blog. Thank you for sharing your gift(s). Writing, Mothering, Family, Talent & Creativity. – She is bound for great talent!

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