Though they be but little

Dec 19

‘Twas a great ending to my day.  I had one girl on each knee, we rocked in my favorite chair, I read to them.  We read more than the standard two stories because we were happy.  They were clean and I inhaled their sweet smells.  Maren exclaimed, “I remember this book from when I was a little girl.”  I smiled with the knowledge that she is still a little girl, but dared not point it out, knowing I would get an indignant reaction.  Greta is at that fabulous age where she is so very interactive with books.  She examines every page, every picture with such intensity.  She can find the most obscure butterfly, she shouts out the names of her favorites when we get to the last page of the current one, and she counts objects in books, “One, two.  One, two, fwee,” over and over again.  Maren reads to us and adds her own commentary: tonight’s book said, “I like soup and crackers.”  She had to point out that she, in fact, does not like soup, and that she is just reading and that’s why she said that.  Her disclaimers are hilarious.  Greta, meanwhile, counts soup crackers in the background, “Onetwofwee, onetwofwee.”  We laughed, we laughed, and we snuggled. It was twenty-five magical minutes. Being a mom is not magical all the time.  Today I’m not going to write a list of the un-magical moments–though it is tempting.  There were a lot of Oy Vey moments, a few Are You Kidding Me moments, and a bunch of Close My Eyes and Count to Ten moments.  Today I’m going to remember how we did an outdoor adventure walk because I had to get out of the house because of all the screaming and played hide-and-seek in the neighborhood green space.   How when Greta and I were out without Maren, Greta kept pointing at Maren’s carseat saying, “Where Ma-nen, where Ma-nen?”  She missed her sister.  How Maren accomplished all of her jobs with record-breaking speed when promised she could read books at bedtime with Greta.  She wanted her sister. My girls are sisters.  Neither remembers life before they were joined.  I love that they will have each other for all the...

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Smitten @ Christmas

Dec 16

I am smitten with my family. I mean sold out, totally in love, wouldn’t trade a thing for anything else. I love my wife more today than yesterday, and more than last week, month and year. I had this romantic hope when we got married that we would evolve to be different people over time, but that we would do it together and would be stronger because of the journey – simply because we would choose it to be so. Well, it’s true. Definitely not the script that we could have imagined – but then it wouldn’t be nearly the adventure that invites us to die to ourselves. I love my wife because she chose me. Period. And she continues to choose me everyday. Exclamation point! I don’t need anything else. I mean someone else chose to link their hopes and dreams with me in spite of myself. To think of the gravity of that … how could I be so deserving? Maren, Greta, wow … what to say? How does a parent not get melted to a point of humility/pride/joy and, well, shear entertainment? I love these girls and am dumbfounded that God entrusted us to coach & love these two treasures. Surely we fail to emulate His unfathomable depth and breadth. Still, it is so sweet when we catch a glimpse of the honest, pure Truth that our bottom line intuition/soul confirms is the really-really undercurrent of our long-term hope. Isn’t it amazing how we can somehow see the simple goodness of life so clearly through the innocence of our children? Somehow God opens our eyes as we try to do the same for our children. Dependence is not a drag; it is an amazing gift … a gift that is both given and received. We are blessed to be in a family that “gets” that. I relish in these thoughts on the threshold of Christmas. This is usually the beginning of my annual internal debate on the merits of the holiday. I’ve been tempted to be disillusioned by commercialism. I’ve struggled to grasp the integrity of a holiday started to pacify pagans in the name of Jesus’ birthday that would have been in the spring. Is...

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Finding fabulous

Dec 14

Sometimes I remember that I had cancer, and I am in danger of recurrence.  My chest constricts, my heart starts to pound, I blink, I tell myself to breathe, and I physically rotate my shoulders back to force the weight of the cancer to roll off and away. After shaking it off, I lift my chin, I step away from the fear, and I go do something fabulous.  You know, like the dishes.  Because I have perspective that it is a privilege to do my life and wash my family’s dishes.  Fabulous, even. Sometimes, more often, I remember that I am cancer free.  My heart swells, my face glows, I inhale gratitude and peace, and I soak in the truth that I. am. free.  I mentally turn my face to the sun, raise my arms, and twirl until I’m dizzy.  Because I know joy.  A smile spreads over my face and I revel in the sensation of life and laughter and living. After I’m not dizzy any more, I go do something fabulous.  (Again.) No matter what day, or moment, I’m having, I always fight for the fabulous...

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Life is hard, but God is good.

Dec 01

I am afraid my cancer is going to come back. It is hard to admit: I am afraid. I want to be filled with faith and confidence and joy and oblivion.  I want to be strong and brave.  So soon after receiving my NED status, I want to be all frolick-y and happy dance-y.  The fear is sneaky; it doesn’t get to me all the time.  I work against the fear, but it lurks nonetheless.  So how do I deal with the fear? I have choices: I can study the statistics about breast cancer and recurrence and read journal articles and eat a diet that may or may not help my odds.  I can read my medical chart and compare notes with other patients.  My medical team has done (and are doing) e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. that medical science has to offer.  The problem is that no one, not one of my doctors, promises that it will be enough.  That’s hard. It’s hard to walk around momming my kids, doing laundry, going to the grocery store, and Christmas shopping when I think (at a most unexpected moment), “Oh, geesh.  I just felt a twinge in my scar tissue.  Is my cancer coming back?  Should I tell Dr. Wonderful?  Wait, now my shoulder hurts–but my purse does weigh twenty pounds.  Back to the twinge.  Did it hurt or did it just feel weird?  Is weird normal?  Should I worry about it, or ?  Wait, Jen, you just need to do today well.” It’s a lot of thinking for the cereal aisle, right? I’ve been praying about how to make these worries and thoughts go away.  Or at least how to deal with the worries.  They are, I think, legitimate.  I don’t think I’m turning in to a hypochondriacal mess; my fear is real.  But these thoughts are not productive or helpful.  As with most hard things over the past year, I’ve had to process and pray and think about how to handle this really craptacular problem that most people don’t have to deal with.  Worry over big hairy scary cancer recurrence is most definitely craptacular. And again. Again, I am back to my faith in God. God healed me. And God made the medical...

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