I’ve been waiting for this day.

33 weeks.

33 years old.

3rd baby.

Indigo will be 3 in June.

I think I should have a “33”  party this week.

It feels totally magical, like the wind could whip around and swirl me up, wrapping me in a dreamy embrace.

Three.  A beautiful, rounded, ripe and pregnant number.  Upside down, it looks like boobies!

Skies here are overcast today, reminding me to turn inward.   I contemplate the stillness in the air and remember moments of that during my labors with the girls.   The calm before the rush of the perfect storm; the surges of birth.  The breeze beckons and so I follow; outside to the weeds to snap some photos.   I heave my body to and fro, waiting for the 10 second auto-timer,  and giggle in between shots.

The distant sound of a lawnmower is akin to the background noise in my mind.   How do I quiet that noise and honor it all the same?  For surely there is inherent wisdom in the questions and the seeking.   I let thoughts bubble up and swell – begging to be acknowledged.    I nod and close my eyes and breathe out the answers only I can know.   The bubbles burst softly, evaporated.


Recently, one bubble grew and grew and drifted around me for months.   It was one of the few times in my life when I felt truly ANXIOUS.   Awakened at night, unable to sleep.   Heart racing, mind questioning my intentions and choices.   I had to get to the point of breakdown, of unraveling.

It was the journey of deciding if my Kaia would go to school in the fall.   We deliberated and asked and toured schools and sat with Kaia in our laps, asking for her wishes.

“I want to go to school, mama!  Like Julie!  Can I, can I, please? Why haven’t I gone to school again (referring to the time she sat in on a class while we toured)?”

And my heart, it broke and grew at once.

“My baby, my first baby, oh my baby….” Is the chorus my soul resounded, with a lilt in the minor key.

I had always envisioned homeschooling (unschooling) my girls.   I had envisioned casual days at home watching flowers bloom, and baking cupcakes while discovering math and measurements.   Road trips would become learning opportunities about history.    We’d join a homeschooling group and become involved in community efforts, my girls reinforcing their servant heart.

But then, this sweet spirit baby decided to join our family.   And I came to grips with reality.   Three kids.   In my house.  All day.  A newborn.  Nursing.  Sleep deprivation.  More dirty diapers.

Would I really be able to maintain enough sanity to quench Kaia’s thirst for knowledge, learning, art, music, “Mama, what’s the Spanish word for…?”

My heart growled protectively “Keep her at home!” but my third-time mama brain responded with tenderness “Leigh, be gentle with yourself.  Kaia is asking for schooling.  Honor her.  Honor yourself and your expectations.  Take this time to get to be with the new baby and to have some one-on-one time with Indigo…”

So, the difficult decision was made along with Kaia.   She has been accepted into a Montessori charter school here in Anthem.  A five minute drive.   Two teachers in each classroom.   Montessori-inspired wooden teaching implements and toys.   Spanish class.   Child-led learning, mixed age classrooms.  A new campus that is being built in time for the fall class, hopefully with a garden.  All day schooling (that punches me in the gut the most).

I have come to a place of acceptance, albeit the acceptance is tinged with deep mourning.   And I also allow this mourning to encompass me.  I wrap myself beneath my sheets and blankets and watch tears wet the pillow.

This is a transition for me.  For all of us.  It’s BIG.

She has never been away from me all day, every day.    How will I manage through not having her wild, free spirit infusing our home?  She will miss out being part of the new baby’s life for 8 hours a day, five days a week.  This knowledge almost crushes me, suffocates me.

She, on the other hand, will undoubtedly THRIVE.

And I have to remember that, keep coming back to that:  honor her, honor her, honor her.   Let her spread her fairy wings, gallop away on her tip toes, eyes wide open to the world.  A world without mama by her side.

Then I keep reminding myself of one other thing:  Nothing is permanent.  We always have a choice.    If she decides she doesn’t want to be there, back by our side she will be.

Then a tiny, small voice also says “Leigh, think of how NICE it will also be.   You will welcome this transition too…”


So, that bubble burst a little more violently than the rest.  I am still feeling the aftershocks, the pinching in my heart, my cells a little more unsure.

But then, this baby writhes and trembles inside my womb and I am brought back to Sweetness.  My belly button has flatted out, my feet have begun just a hint of swelling.   Braxton Hicks surges tighten my belly and I breathe through them, sending oxygen to my mysterious baby.

At a recent all-night birth, baby stayed up with me through it all, kicking and swimming and pushing up as if to say “I’m here with you, mama”. My constant companion, my initiator of deep Body Awareness, my reconnection to the Source.   My baby, nameless still yet feels all-knowing.  Perhaps my most intense guide yet, the one who will push me to peer over the edge of all I know, plunge into the depths of my vastness, the parts of me have been unwilling to discover.   Painful, maybe.   Necessary, I believe.


Recently, I’ve become thrilled at the opportunity to mother AGAIN.  To perhaps have a “do-over” and parent with even more authenticity and unconditionality.    What a gift this baby has given me.   My family.

Until then, I have chosen to revel in these last months.  To honor and enjoy my expanding body.  To be present with my girls.

For months, Jason and I have been talking about the need to get the girls to learn to sleep in their own beds each night.  We’ve tried and struggled and tried some more.    A few nights ago, while curling around Indigo’s body and hearing her breath slow, I decided to be done with trying.   These are the last precious weeks of being a mama to my two, fiery girls.   This time will never be gotten back.   No more fighting.    And so, I lay with my girls at night and know that I will manage through, in each moment, when the baby arrives.

Giving in doesn’t mean you are wimpy.   Giving in is simply allowing yourself permission to enJOY.    And I pledge to enjoy my family, to never look back and say “I wish I woulda….”


Hello 33!


I love you.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. All those threes are dizzying. Or it might just be you. xo

  2. Trish says:

    Wow Leigh. I see you. Today I ran two errands, the total at one $13.33, the other $33.39. I wondered where those threes were leading me and knew the minute I saw the link on FB. Thank you so much for your authenticity, inspiration, reminders, honesty, shared vulnerability. You move me to tears, so many lessons, I breathe them in.

    Loving you,

  3. luannemacy says:

    You are right, Leigh, to honor her, and that nothing is permanent. This is just another of many ebbs among flows. Your heart is strong and beautiful. You will float with every wave. Through all transitions come underlying lessons. What will your little baby bird learn from this? That her mama is strong but not rigid, loving her enough to let her fly when it’s right. To be the growing spirit she is. Don’t worry, she will always be your sweet baby.

    It’s all going to be beautiful. I am excited for you and your girls ❤

  4. Mani says:

    You are so beautiful and wise. And Kaia is beautiful and wise. You both know where you need to be, and when you need to be somewhere different, you will both know that, too. Trust yourself. Trust her. Everything is perfect. xoxo I love you all tremendously.

  5. Rixa says:

    Lovely photos.

    I’ve been having lots of thoughts about what to do with schooling once my oldest reaches school age. You are so fortunate to have a charter school accessible to you. We live in a small town with just one option–the one public school–and it’s pretty mediocre. No charters, no private schools, nada. I don’t really feel strongly either way about homeschooling or public schooling and am really not super excited about either option.

    Anyway I Iove the convergence of 3’s in your life!

  6. So nice to see an update. I’ve been thinking of you :).

    I feel you on the schooling. I’m an unschooler at heart, but my M has different ideas. She is not interested in working with me on anything. Nada. If she catches wind that I’m trying to teach her anything in any way, she bolts.

    At her Montessori preschool, otoh, she thrives and happily learns from the teachers.

    I’ve also had to admit that I seriously need a break – and 3 hours a day, 4 days a week ain’t cutting it. By the time I get home, make breakfast, do the dishes, it’s practically time to turn around and go get her.

    For now we have decided on public school, although I have a LOT of misgivings about that. But like you, I tell myself that nothing is permanent, and we can always change course if needed.

    My 4 yo BABY lost her first tooth a week or so ago, is riding her bike without training wheels, and in the fall she starts kindergarten. It makes me proud and breaks my heart at the same time …

  7. Kay says:

    I think one of the hardest parts of parenting is letting go when your children need you to let go. I so want to hold Henry close FOREVER, but I know that wouldn’t be right. Good for you for honoring Kaia’s request…and you’re right, nothing is set in stone.

  8. Karen says:

    I have grown to really love the Montessori approach to teaching/learning. But I am glad that they started with half days when my kids first started. It was a great way to transition from being home always to being away for part of their learning.
    The multi-age part is one of my favorite parts. For my kids I feel like it is the next best thing to being home.

  9. leighsteele says:

    You all have already made my heart lighten. Thank you! xoxo

  10. Karen says:

    Oh…and about teaching the girls to sleep on their own…they don’t need to be taught that. They could do it if they had to (probably). They just (probably) feel just so wonderful getting to be so close to their mama and especially the baby. When I was preggers with my #3 I thought I needed to teach my #2 to sleep on the other side of my hubby and yet she was absolutely fine being next to me (great since she was still nursing) and even fine next to #3 when she was out of the womb. And sometimes (when #1 was not at his school) all three kids were curled up like kittens. It was beautiful. And they would still (at ages 12, 8, &6) still all curl up in my bed with me and the man that helped make them if we could just find a bed big enough.

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