Growing Together: Little White Whale


Many of my favorite blogs create beautiful images with stories or beautiful stories with images. And Sarah’s space, Little White Whale, combines those two in a heavenly, perfect match.

Her words, just like her photos, are clear and beautiful. Inspiring and so honest. Her posts about wanting to be a human being and not a human doing inspired me and stuck with me. I’m still very much a human doing (such a hard transition to make at this time of year, isn’t it?) but I return to Sarah’s words often to remind me to just be.

If you don’t know Sarah, then be sure to read below and after that go visit her at her place. And then go back and visit her again on Sunday for her Sunday Spill. Sunday morning, a cup of coffee, and Sarah’s Sunday spill – that is heaven.


Hi, I’m Sarah. A lifetime ago I taught middle school, but now I kick it everyday with my kids–three busy boys and one lucky little girl. In my spare time I teach a natural childbirth course. I’m a doula, and a professional photographer too. My blog, Little White Whale, began like many blogs–as a virtual baby book for my children. But it’s since become more my own refuge. A place where I keep it real, share my love of photography, and sometimes gentle-birth related material and peaceful parenting. Maybe you’ve seen me cruising around the web using my alias?  @SundaySpill.  I dubbed myself as such because it’s Sundays that I save for sharing all my leftover weekly pictures.  On Sundays I spill those heavenly moments that exist for me in motherhood and beyond.  While I like to express my family’s life in stories and pics throughout the week, it’s Sundays that give me the chance to catch up, break even, and heaven below net zero. I’m simply jazzed to write a post for Raising Humans today.  Hope you enjoy.  And visit me sometime won’t you?  I’d love it.

Heaven above.  Sea below.  See below.

The six of us Reinharts were ambling around the zoo on a Sunday not too long ago. My oldest, Leo, wore my DSLR and wide-angle lens around his neck.

Be careful m’kay. I told him.  That’s a lot of dough you have hanging there.

Mother, I know. I just want to take pictures of all the animals we see.  At almost six, he’s an old-fashioned little boy.  Calls me Mother and often speaks more properly than a lot of adults.

I had to chuckle at the passersby who saw him and stared wide-eyed. Is that a real camera? one man asked.  I nodded. Reading his expression showed disbelief.  Big camera plus little boy equals disaster. Some strangers, it seemed, were more worried about my equipment than I was.

Even though my son is what we like to call spirited, he was gentle enough with the camera that day. Each exhibit we came to SNAP SNAP SNAP. He fired off between five and ten frames. I let him go on. I was having fun being on the other side of the lens for a change.


photo credit: Leo Reinhart, age 5

Mother? Do you think you can send these animal pictures to the newspaper for me?  I think they’d like to print them.

I looked at him.  So in his element, this kid.  Wants to grow up and build his own zoo he does.  Run his own animal preserve one day.  A scientist and a conservationist already.  Big heart. And very brainy to boot.

Well.  I’d be honest. Maybe not the newspaper.  But I’ll put some of your shots on my blog?  How about that?  How about I share them for you that way?

He looked at me. And then he asked.  He asked IT.  I lead him to ask it.  The timing must have been right for us both.  He asked.  Mother? What is this blog you keep speaking of?

What is your blog?  What’s A BLOG?

Sluuuurrp went Time.  I stood still. My body did.  But my mind swirled backwards in the space.  Up through twisty striped straws and along wobbly platforms I went. Plank pa pa plank.  I sailed back across oceans. I think lightning flashed.  Music played too quickly, too loudly, was too unidentifiable.  It was all very Dr. Seuss-esque. And HEY. Wait. Hold it. Did I just see a Lorax? I think so. Until SPLAT–Time dropped me back to the day I began my Little White Whale;  a few days following Leo’s first birthday.

And Oh The Lessons I’ve Learned as a Mother Blogger since then. All the lessons I’ve learned as a Mama since then.  All the times I’ve stumbled, fallen. Hard. The times I’ve gotten up again. Sometimes oh sometimes when it took a really long time to stand up. The bends in the road I didn’t see coming. The forks where I hesitated.  Which way? All those times when I pulled back but maybe should have pushed forward.  And those cases when I plowed through but maybe should have slowed. I’ve learned that all the cliches about journeys and what’s important in life and in love are maybe more than a little true. And I’ve rubber banded all those lessons together. Strung ’em together left justified with a header and sidebar too. I call it a blog. I say it’s for Leo and Gus and Matilda and Oscar. But who am I fooling?  It’s for me.  It’s probably more for me. I study everyday.  Then I write and I think and I add the words up.  And if I were to tell him, because he asked, I’d say Leo. I know I look grown up, but I don’t always feel that way.  I’m a bit like that seal you photographed. Good if I’m in my element. I glide and swim so freely. How sleek of me, you see!  But other times I am a wacky awkward mess. I slap at the ground with my flippers. I Ark ARk arK, and I don’t make sense. Lman, your Mama can be so clumsy on the land. Lessons. Lessons.  Lessons. The heaven above. The sea below. Do you see my heart, my boy?

I thought all of that.  In an instant.  I thought. But what came out of my mouth was different.  Much, much more reserved and normal sounding. I simply explained that my blog was where I documented our lives. I tell our stories there.  And I share pictures.

I document us there. Want to see it? Want to…read it sometime?

Slightly nervous, I bit my lip.

Though not for long.

I could tell the researcher in him was pleased.  Document?  A study of sorts? He flashed a smile and I knew.

I had my answer.

Here’s one more picture from our day at the zoo by Leo. A family portrait minus him (with nose-wiping even!).


  1. Pingback: Guest Post at Raising Humans | Little White Whale

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