Author: Sarah Anderson

The Necessary White Space

By Sarah Anderson Every night at 6:45, the evening bedtime routine begins. My husband takes two lively and squirmy boys upstairs for a bath that usually ends up as a splashing, wrangling, wrestling match of sorts. Sometimes it results in clean boys, and sometimes just very wet ones. While managing that chaos, I pick up the abandoned toys and rinse the abandoned dishes. I make a sippy cup of milk for the boy who is in diapers, and the tiniest sippy cup of water for the one who is not. I find pacifiers and blankets. I lay out pajamas, I collect towels and then boys, to read to,  sing to, kiss on, hug on, and then bid goodnight. And once their doors are closed for the night, I start preparing for the next day—to do it all again. Parenting is hard on so many levels. It can be monotonous. Demanding. Filled with thousands of tiny selfless acts not prone to being noticed. It is saturated with times when a parent is compelled to forego themselves for the sake of another—rarely with the “other’s” notice. It is tiring work. To lose oneself in the making of another—in the routine, in the familiarity. It is easy to wonder where we went. In Judaism, they teach the idea when it comes to the text of Scripture, that the words are black fire...

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Joy in the Chaos

My son is asking for a car this Christmas. He’s four. He started asking for one months ago. And I— foolishly—thought it would be an idea that waned with time. Not so much. He gets fixated on things and doesn’t let go. Which can only mean one thing. Christmas morning is sure to be a little disappointing for my boy. He is his mother’s son. I can relate. I have a long history of being a bit of a wreck on Christmas. I love anticipation, hype, excitement. But I hate the letdown. And every Christmas, with big hopes and...

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Lightening Up Christmas

It seems to me, in recent years, Christmas has become quite the conundrum. Maybe it always has been as complicated as it now feels, or maybe I’m just more tuned in since becoming a parent, but it seems like everything you do—or don’t do—this time of year is intended to make a statement: Is Santa coming to your house? What about Elf on the Shelf? How many presents are you giving and getting? Are you caroling, serving, reading, s’moring, Operation Christmas boxing, white elephanting? And no matter where you land, your choice, for better or for worse, seems to...

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Letting Go

By Sarah Anderson The day before my youngest, Pace, turned one, he was checked into the children’s hospital to get tubes put in his ears. This surgery is common and uncomplicated. But I was a wreck. So, my husband was the parent we designated to be with Pace for the surgery. Meanwhile, I waited at home with my oldest frantically checking my phone for updates for when the ten minute procedure was over. It went off without a hitch—except for one thing. When receiving a picture of Pace in the post-op room, still sleeping off the anesthesia, I realized I wasn’t looking at my baby. That was a little boy. I suspect this experience wasn’t unique to me. Parenting regularly generates these unexpected and puzzling moments when the child you thought you understood appears foreign, unrecognizable—a near stranger. Suddenly, you feel as though you are being reintroduced to your own offspring, left wondering when they stopped being who you knew so well and became an altogether new person. Looking at my baby boy when he left the house at 5:15 a.m, only to see the lines and shape of a child sleeping off the anesthesia was one of those times for me. At some point, Pace had lost his baby-ness. And I couldn’t remember when. I had been so busy protecting, defending, harboring this idea of his infancy, that...

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The Perfect White Easter Eggs

My husband often tells me “the happiest and healthiest people are those whose expectations meet reality.” I frequently need reminding of this. I live in expectation—anticipation—playing things out in my head of how I would like them to unfold. The problem is, as you might imagine, the more expectations I have, the more likely I am to be disappointed when they aren’t met. Thinking through how I would like things to be is far from a guarantee of how they will actually happen. There may be no other realm in life where expectation and reality land in such vastly...

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