Featured Loss Motherhood

kiddie pool

March 16, 2017

1,825 days.

That’s how many 24-hour periods of time there are in five years.

These days are profoundly formative in a child’s life. However, if most of us think back to our preschool years,  we most certainly do not have one thousand memories; some hardly even have one hundred recollections!

We rarely retain a vast number of distinct impressions, but what does shape our early childhood years is the tone of the environment in which we were raised.

As a parent or caregiver, this brings great freedom to focus on the overall atmosphere of the family versus each small, isolated interaction.

Focus on the tone of the home.

As parents, there are moments of feeling stretched too far, fatigued, and over exerted. Not every instance will be handled in a textbook manner. But that’s OK. An environment rich in relational warmth will help cover those occurrences.

Think of your relationship with your child as a kiddie pool. Each time you affirm and breathe life into his or her little heart, you dump a cup of water into the kiddie pool. Every “I love you,” and each snuggle is another heap poured right into the container.

Some days you will add a lot of water to the kiddie pool. Others, you may splash a little out with a snappy reply or an irritated manner. But because of the water you’ve poured into that pool, there will be a reserve and basis of love and understanding with which to safeguard your connection to your child.

The tone of your home can add to the pool or drain water right out.

In times of loss or trauma, it is vital to be intentional about cultivating the tone. Do less. Engage more. Play. Know that there will be seasons where you need to designate more effort into creating a peaceful atmosphere. Music is powerful.  Dance parties are engaging. Hugs and reassurance all add water to the pool.

You don’t have to bat a thousand every day, but be intentional about making deposits every day. My own children have different activities that greatly raise the watermark in the kiddie pool of their hearts. Violet loves to read. Theo loves to play ‘dogs’. Engaging in their interests fosters connection and love in our relationship.

And let’s be honest, I regularly pray that all my efforts would be their most prominent memories and that God would ‘fill in the cracks of their heart’ in any areas that I might miss.

So get to filling those pools!

*Photo by Tori Vandament

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12 Comments

  • Reply Sabrina March 16, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Emily,
    You are such a transparent, kind, funny and loving soul… thank you for allowing us in your world.
    I will be sending this blog to my friends with small kids… even though my kids are older it is still a reminder to add their pool too( maybe a big pool) but nevertheless they need grace and love just as much too.
    You mean so much to me….

  • Reply Cheryl DiPiero March 16, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Good word, Emily. I like that imagery. I am getting an opportunity to add to the pool with my son, Joey, who is living at home again, temporarily. We are enjoying getting to know one another from a different perspective. But the foundation was laid long ago with those little deposits into the kiddie pool. Keep writing! Love you!

    • Emily Lanphier
      Reply Emily Lanphier March 16, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      loved getting a comment from you Cheryl!!! xoxox thanks for reading!

  • Reply Rosie March 17, 2017 at 8:40 am

    As they get older, setting the tone can also mean value the relationship over the individual incident. You have about 18 years to parent, but you want another couple decades of influence. Build your influence through little decisions about how you respond during difficult times.

    • Emily Lanphier
      Reply Emily Lanphier March 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      love your wisdom 🙂

  • Reply Aunt Sue March 17, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Emily, I love reading everything you write. Believe it or not, I learn something eveytime. I sure could have benefited from this when I was raising my sons. You are an amazing writer. Please keep it up. I love you to the moon and back.

    • Emily Lanphier
      Reply Emily Lanphier March 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Aunt Sue! love you!

  • Reply Candy Zollicoffer March 18, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for sharing! This is great advice, to set the tone of the home especially while they are small and letting them just be who they are. I plan to be even more intentional with this. Kaiden loves to dance and Nyomi loves to read-Chica Chica Boom Boom is a favorite!

  • Reply Anna Marie March 19, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Thank you for your wisdom Emily. This was so encouraging & challenging for me as we are in little people parenting mode too! The days feel full of training & correcting moments & yet I want to fill their little pools full too! I loved how you pointed out their favorite things to do. I want to invest in my little boys like that intentionally & spend moments with them in what they are in to. Thanks! You’ve always been beautiful inside & out. Your words bring life.

    • Emily Lanphier
      Reply Emily Lanphier March 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it Anna Marie!! Congrats on your new little lady! 🙂

  • Reply Michaela Frost March 21, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I loved this! So sweet, Emily 🙂

  • Reply Renee Cook May 2, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    SUCH a great illustration!!! Thanks for the reminder to step back, zoom out, and focus on tone. Hugs!

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