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The life of

Janeal Steed

As told in poetry and prose

by her mother,

Marsha Steed

June 2004




      When I had my oldest child, I discovered what it was to love another being, so completely, so totally, that you could no longer imagine yourself without them in your life.  When my second child came into my world, I realized that the love I thought could never increase, indeed expanded with every baby’s cry, and every young skinned knee.  As my next baby (and then my last) entered my world, I learned that there is no end to loving.  There is no limit to what I would do or sacrifice.  There were not enough buckets for the tears, or enough words to express the joys that being a mother elicited. 


Janeal is, and from her first breath has been, a joy.  She is my third child and second daughter. She is a friend to the down-trodden, a boon to anyone she chooses to work with and for.  She is intelligent, beautiful, caring and generous.


This then, is a glimpse into a few of the events and memories that have molded her into who she is becoming.  Presented on this, her Graduation from Roseville High School, 2004, and her completion of the Young Woman in Excellence program,  I wanted to share with her, (and anyone she chooses to share this little booklet with) my smiles, a few of my tears and frustrations (hopefully with humour) and above all, my genuine gratitude and joy at being blessed with this daughter of God.  

~  MS


The Comedies and Tragedies












Prettiest baby in white



Age One & half

Learning to walk



Age One

Falling from Heaven



Age Two

Shoe Mommy!



Age Two & half

Braiding hair ~Angel in peach



Age Three




Age Four

Arlington Heights Library



Age Five

Banners to Welcome



Age Six

The “No Homework Hassle”



Age Seven

Barbies, Barbies, Barbies



Age Eight

I like to look for Rainbows



Age Nine

Farewell to long hair



Age Ten

Sharing a Room



Age Eleven

Three Steeds at Camp



Age Twelve

My Favorite School



Age Thirteen

New places, new friends



Age Fourteen

Little Sister’s View  Wedding



Age Fifteen

Best Mother’s day



Age Sixteen

Up UP and away. . or not -



Age Seventeen

Gender reversals and Glass



Age Eighteen





A mother’s heart








Age 0 ~ Prettiest Baby in White

~ 1986 ~





A great grandmother’s touch

Made a dress for a princess

Flowing white

With lace trim.


A grandmother’s hands

Made a blanket to keep

Wrapping a bundle

With perfect love.


A mother’s sacrifice

Made an angel baby

Beaming bright

With ebony hair.


A sister’s caring

Made dark eyes twinkle

Brand new soul

With heaven’s memory.


A Heavenly Father’s love

Made a blessing day

Filled with joy

With eternity’s promise.



---<--(@ MSteed


Age 1 ~ Learning to walk

~ 1987 ~


   I have four pretty ladies

With baby, toddler, child.

Each one represents

My own dear childrens smiles.


One is of a baby,

cradled on a mothers lap

Another of a little boy,

with flowers behind his back.


A third, a daughter

Pretty in baby pink hairbands

And the fourth a toddling girl,

Into mammas outstretched hands.


Each precious moment

miraculously porcelain-crafted start

but the richest memory remains

deeply etched in this mothers heart.


Tentative steps,

a padded fanny,

Encouraging words

A glowing, successful baby,


You learned to walk

And then to run and more,

To ride and drive

And now. . . to magnificently soar.  


---<--(@ MSteed 04



Age 1.5 ~ Falling from Heaven

  ~ 1987 ~

Vacations are so exciting

we pack and hope and plan.

Oregon was the destination

all five of us loaded up the van.


We marveled at the scenery

took every side trip and pause

flew kites and watched seals,

ate and played 'just because'.


The beach called temptingly

three little ones dug in the sand

"Higher up, the views amazing"

Called down their dad.


So mom watched precious ones

climb the hill fearlessly

Given charge of the camera

she recorded the event cheerfully.


"Look Mom, way up here!"

Her babies were in a tree.

Towering over the hill and beach

as high as they could be




There was little Janeal

barely 0ne year old.

Waving from the high branches

Would Mom have be as bold?


Her little angel from heaven,

smiling down from high

There she was in a fixed frame

then suddenly she went bye!


Rock a by baby

In the tree top

when daddy slips

the baby will drop!


The brave little girl

with bark burns

from chin to cheek

still smiled for the camera

all the rest of the week.


---<--(@ MSteed



Age 2 Shoe Mommy!

~ 1988 ~


Every mother waits

For her baby's first word

Will it show affection?

Will it be “Mamma!' or 'Ma!”

What wonders will be manifest

In the first tender expression

From a tiny soul new from heaven?


Lovingly I watched

For the sign of connection

Between an image

And unspoken realization.

That everything has a name

And that names symbolize things

And people

And wants.

And joys.


My little girl

With eyes shinning brightly

Chose something dear

With pride in her accomplishment

She reached for me

Proudly extending her arms

I reached back with anticipation.

Clutching the precious item,

Her sweet little voice

Chose her very first word and

Exclaimed, “Shoe!” 



---<--(@ MSteed


Age 2.5 ~ Braiding hair ~Angel in peach

~ 1988 ~



Aunt Loralyn is getting married.

Little girls get new dresses to wear

Mom sews diligently

Angels in Peach to share.


"Shall we braid your hair?"

"Then let it dry like we do!"

"You'll look so lovely,

"With plaited waves all through."


Long brownish blonde hair

flowing down to her waist

a weekly tradition,

a patient angelic face.


"Can I wear it up Mommy?"

"Like Barbie at the Ball?"

Little one transformed with pins

curling iron, hairspray and all.


Little Bo Peep and Cinderellas gown

though stunning, weren't as perfect

as a peach-clad two-year old

spinning in circles for dazzling effect.


Rust and peach

Everything set with pride

Shhhhhh, dont tell

The flower-girl rivals the Bride.


---<--(@ MSteed




Age 3 ~ Remembering

~ 1989 ~







"Snort, Snort"


"Funny!, Funny!"



Ok, you had to have been there.



---<--(@ MSteed




Age 4 ~ Arlington Heights Library

~ 1990 ~




Did you imagine

As you learned to read

At age four,

And then skipped off to school

Seeking solace

in the quiet peace of

Arlinghton Heights Library

and Ms Fiedler's smile,

that your Mom would one day

be a Librarian

for other little girls

Just discovering who they were

and wondering

what to do about it?



---<--(@ MSteed




Age 5 ~ Banners to Welcome

~ 1991 ~






You know when a baby arrives

Those who love her

Shout, "it's a girl!"


When important news breaks

The media buzzes to share

News with the world.


When you see an amazing sunset

You turn to see who else

Can see your view swirl.


When someone is away for awhile

But coming home today

A mommy-missing five-year old

Always had a banner to unfurl.



                            WELCOME HOME MOM AND DAD!





---<--(@ MSteed


Age 6 ~ The “No Homework Hassle”

~ 1992 ~


Mommies are busy souls

with laundry to do

rooms to clean

toys to pick-up

meals to cook

and a brother

and sister

to clean up after.


"Did you do your chores?"

"Make sure you find your scout shirt"

"What can we feed the missionaries?"

"Did you check your math?"


Little girls are busy souls

with cupboards to explore

rooms to mess

toys to scatter

meals to refuse

and a brother

and a sister

to be teased by for fun.


"Can I help you mommy?"

"Can I set the plastic cups?"

"Can I go to church too?"

"I did my math all by myself."


Mommies are so grateful

with so much to do

for little girls who never once

from age six

to graduation day

had to be asked

'Did you get your homework done?'


---<--(@ MSteed


Age 7 ~ Barbies, Barbies, Barbies

~ 1993 ~


Fancy ball gowns

shorts and tennis rackets.

Checkered black and white

and blue frilly jackets.


Plastic accessories

lined up in rows

mini- purses, high-heeled shoes

plastic hangers and bitty bows.


Towering house

and baby-pink car

Ice-cream parlor chairs,

couches, bed and lamps spread far.


Barbies, Barbies everywhere

naked, dressed and half-way there.

Ken and Skipper, Stacy and MIdge

Barbies take-over!  Beware!


What do you want for Christmas?


What do you want for your Birthday?


What did the Easter Bunny bring?


What will you spend your tooth-fairy money on?



Glitter and glitz, Simple and fun.

Boots and gloves, hair-pieces and sun.

Dancing and Working, Playing and Serving

Barbie with Janeal's help

can simply do anything!


--<--(@ MSteed



Age 8 ~ Baptism

~ “I want my life to be as Pure” ~

~ 1994 ~


A third child


gets left out.

With a beautiful



brother and sister

gone before,

and a precious

little baby

arriving after.


There are few 'firsts'


for a middle child.

Someone has already

broken ground.



it may not always feel like it.

The firsts still abound.

For each experience

even if modeled before

infused with your spirit

becomes innately

and indelibly





Working on a baptism dress

I remember

with clarity

the anticipation

of slipping the pure white

over my eight-year-old's head

and watching you shine


with purity,

your chosen song,


"I want my life

To be as pure

As earth right after rain

I want to be

The best I can. . ."


You, my sweet one

have always held that motto

from that day to this

with integrity



and example.


You are my rainbow.


---<--(@ MSteed






Age 9 ~ Farewell to long hair

~ 1995 ~




"It hurts!"

"Stop it!'




"Hold still"

"I'm BEING careful!"

"Do you want it cut?"


Long pause.


Longer pause


Deep breath.




---<--(@ MSteed








Janeal says, “That isn’t how it was!  I didn’t want my hair cut, you cut it off an inch at a time when I didn’t obey.  I cried and cried!” 


Well, ok, but this way made a better poem. ::winks::


Age 10 ~ Sharing a Room

~ 1996 ~


Paint splatters

Mom watching

Careful aim

Wall dripping.


Trouble brewing?

Sisters fighting?

Punishment coming?

Mother fuming?



Room redecorating!


---<--(@ MSteed


Note: This is the second version, 1999


Age 11 ~ Three Steeds at Camp

~ 1997 ~



                  Young Womens beckons

Primary left behind.

Summer opens

Sleeping bag to find.


Girl's camp promises

nerves tighten

Mom's coming.

Sister's protection.


Three dirty Steeds

rungs on a ladder

beaming faces

in Nature's splendor.


First year

Fourth year




Some things

that first make you scared

are so much better



---<--(@ MSteed




Age 12 ~ My “Favorite” School

~ 1998 ~


I'll never forget one day,

when I was having a rough morning. 

I don't recall the argument,


do I remember

why I was disappointed,


I remember the ride to Sylvan,

a difficult year

for a child

turning into a young woman. 


It wasn't unlike so many rides before. 

This one,


was not spent

in cheerful sharing chatter,

but with a lecture

from driveway to walkway.


Something you did,

or something you said,


I have no memory of it at all,

but the lecture was stinging,

your eyes were brimming

as you closed the door






I promptly forgot

as mom's often do,

and went about my day. 


Six hours later,

I returned to pick you up

at the same tree-lined spot.


Your eyes were still brimming. 

The first words you said



"Mom, I'm so sorry!"


You had not forgotten,

and I,

I was shown an important lesson.


My tender-hearted girl, 

taught me the meaning

of  repentance,

and godly sorrow. 




---<--(@ MSteed


Age 13 ~ New places, new friends

~ 1999 ~

Time has a way of imploding

in on itself.

One day, you are comfortable

and content,

and the next, you are tumbling


in a spiral you dare not question.


Everything familiar and known


A few words, from those in control.


"We're moving."


The world spins beyond comprehension

New worlds to conquer and explore.


High School beckoned tantalizingly

Bringing what?

You could be someone new.

Old left behind.

Orientation was frightening

a new face

Friends for four years and still.


Roseville promised your own room

a sister married

a new life and a new world

fingertips spread

you welcomed the change

and showed

just what thirteen years had taught.  ---<--(@ MSteed







14 Little Sister’s View of a Wedding





Two girls

Shinning eyes

One tears of joy

One tears of loss

Yet can we ever truly lose

What hearts hold forever safe?


---<--(@ MSteed





Age ~ 15 Best Mother’s day

~ 2001 ~



You give the best gifts.

So many come to mind.

Knowing your receiver

Your thoughtfulness is kind.

There have been a zillion gifts

Tea-cup holders, silver tea-sets

lovely things, pretty things

thoughtful and useful things.











Still the one I loved the most

bringing a tear to my eye

was the year you gave me

the gift to make any mother sigh.


You told me you remembered

with items one by one

all the lessons I'd taught you

and little things I'd done.



A dinosaur for a song

A pack of spoons for a laugh

Coloring books for a sigh

and rose clippers for a gasp.


Every item represented

A memory between you and me

A childhood shared in a fancy bag

A heart over flowing with "we".



---<--(@ MSteed





Age 16 ~ Up UP and Away. . . or not

"Parler' Vous Français? "

~ 2002 ~



Sweet Sixteen, and your first 'date'.

My daddy took me to the top

of the highest restaurant

in San Francisco.


Your daddy promised to take you

even higher

(though it took two more years to get you there!)


You did make it into the sky however

as Paris whispered your name.

You walked amongst the French

Arc de Triomph and Eiffel Towers fame


Sainte-Chapelle. Chartres. Sacre Coeur.

Notre Dame. The Sine, Champs-Elysees

Artist quarters, Versailles

(and roommates getting sick)

Montpellier and the Louvre

Lore Valley and in the park to picnic.

You may not speak like a native

Ms. Hoffman knew youd learn

You ordered like a pro!

And Paris awaits your triumphant return.


Sweet Sixteen, and a world traveler.

Now finish college, get a degree

Well go back together one day.

And then you can pay for me!

---<--(@ MSteed








Age 17 ~ Gender Reversals, 70’s Music, Illegal Drugs and Glass. . .

~ 2003 ~


Rehearsals galore

Your dedication legendary.

From Celebrating the Light

to Glass Menagerie, you glow with an inner fire.


With Tartuffe and With Grace. Pippin and

Calling the Wind Mariah,

you have shown your versatility.


You can hide a terrible secret.

dress in beard and pantaloons,

be a bitter mother,

or a sweet ingénue,

each with believability.


From director to actress (actor??)

and every grip, gaff, writer, prop, lights

and stage manager in between.

Drama has been your outlet

For a soul with amazing lessons to teach,

tales to tell,

expressions to learn

and emotions to explore.




Future casts anticipate

your dazzling instruction.


---<--(@ MSteed


Age 18 ~ Curves

~ 2004 ~




"30 seconds!"


"Change stations now!"














You and I share many things


Love of     drama and


Mexican food.


Family History and Learning,


$5 Stores and Jewelry


Somehow, however, I think


I ought to apologize

for sharing

my curves


so generously.




---<--(@ MSteed


~ And Beyond ~

A Mother’s Heart



A Mother's Heart


Of course a mother knows

(Mom's know everything!)

she will miss each of her children.

(Yeah, right!)

Even when they come back

(and stay, and stay. . . )

it is never the same.

(Thank goodness)


She knows that relationships change

(like the wind)

Yet her heart clings to what is

(Like static laundry).

While understanding and wanting

(I never want anything!)

what will be.

(Or at least wish)


So, as I watch you pack

(I'll not miss your messes!)

I can't help all the emotions

(Or your bickering with your brothers)

that well up inside.

(You are leaving me!)


I know I'll miss your hugs

(Do you know I'm crying even now?)

and your notes when I come home

(to an empty cold house)

and all the 'girl stuff'

(who will read my stories?)

that only you and I share.

(You know youll always have a room!.)



Even as I write this

(Is it a farewell?)

I know I have no idea

(Ok, a little idea)

how much you mean to me

(Are you mean to me?)

and how very much

(can you measure love?)

I'll miss you.

(Promise you'll write?)


You have become my friend

(Why do kids leave as soon as they get nice?)

My sounding board

(sometimes I sound too loud too)

and my confidant




I am humbled

(OK, sometimes even *I* can be humble)

and honoured


to watch you step

(Careful to find the floor)

into a new life,

(Filled with more Comedies)

Where you no longer need me,

(No more Tragedies)

Because your life is simply

(Im not sure any part of life is simple)


(Looking forward to hearing about the wonder) perfect.

(A mother can hope!)

in every possible way.


Your loving mother and cherished friend,



---<--(@ MSteed











Epilogue:  June 4th 2004

I was so thrilled to present this to you as you stood and received your Young Woman in Excellence award, even if it wanst quite finished. 


We cried together, but the tears are good tears, foraged from years of mistakes, successes and through it all, a loving relationship that time can not dull. 


I miss you even now, yet I am so very thrilled with your accomplishments, your drive and your vision.  You are everything a mother could possibly ask for in a child and now a friend. 

Well spend some wonderful times together stil., but in truth it is the ending of one relationship and the beginning of an entirely different one.  Your life is now in your own hands.  I untie the apron strings, hand you the tools and the knowledge as best as I was able to impart it. . . and send you out into the world to make your own mark. 


I love you beyond question, measurement or reason.


Always connected.








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