She’s six

Apr 30

She’s six

She’s six, and she’s awesome. I love having a six-year-old, even whilst I can’t believe she’s six.  Most moms I know want time to stop so that they might keep their babies little.  Most of the time, that sentiment resonates long and deep and true within me, too.  However, last year at her birthday, I remember hoping that she would pummel through her birthdays with breakneck speed so that I might see them all.  It’s a sharp contrast: last year, this year.  Last year, I was bald at her party.  This year, I think, “I had cancer last year.”   Never do I take for granted the past tense of that statement; never do I utter it without a silent or stated prayer, Thank you God for allowing me to be cancer free.  I am incredibly grateful to be in-the-moments with my daughters; being cancer free allows me to assuage my worries and be present.  I sweep the hair across her face, look into her eyes, and marvel with awe at who she is.  I am so blessed to be her Mama. We had a little party at home where she got to invite six of her little friends.  She’s been planning it for roughly eleven-and-a-half months.  I kid you not, I remember as she sat down often in the summer/fall/winter and wrote the names of all of her invitees and began drawing pictures of what they would do at her six-year-old-birfday party.  It saddens me that the “birfday” is now “birthday”.  She lost her last babyish lisp as a five-year-old.  After much deliberation, she chose the activities we would have at her party: we had face painting (by moi–and I only know how to paint one thing, so don’t be too impressed), dancing, coloring, limbo, and bubbles. She’s got a great future in party-planning; her party was a huge hit.  My favorite part was watching them whirl and twirl around the backyard with their butterfly faces as the bubbles swirled around them.  It was little girls doing what little girls do best.  Isn’t the life of a six-year-old grand?  Cheers to my beautiful girl.  I love you to the moon and back sweet Maren. (picture: Maren, 6 years...

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So much more than a workshop

Apr 22

The Orcas Island rain perplexed me.  At home, if you walk in the rain, you get wet.  Seriously wet.  In seconds you are damp; one dash in the rain can leave you dripping and soggy and breathless.  Here, I walk in the rain, and I don’t get wet.  I look around; I see the rain dripping off the moss-covered roof and leaving ripples like stars in the sky throughout the bay.  There is so much water on the well traveled path that I cannot tell if it is coming from the sky above, or if it is bubbling up from somewhere deep within this place as part of it’s urgent, relentless cleansing nature.  It bubbles up; I bubble up.  I force myself to walk slowly in the rain — I’m not getting wet — and to be drenched in the space. The workshop for writers was amazing.  Going to this event was the most random thing I’ve done in the past five years, and it was so very unsquelchingly right.  There were twenty-six workshop participants, and six facilitators.  For about seventy-two hours we were all at a cool, misty summer camp together; free of preconceptions and responsibility.  Our only mission a shared one: to write and to better ourselves. I find my brain is bursting with essays and pages and snippets I wish to record.  I now need three days in a dark room to process, and I’m just praying that I can find enough quiet moments strung together over the next few days to capture the magic of Doe Bay and the endearing friendships forged before I am again ensconced in my world, my beautiful world, of Jen and of wife and mama. The finale of the weekend seems appropriate to describe: I was one of the few who travelled a great distance to come to the event, and the facilitators were so accommodating with my logistical needs.  On the second to last day, one of my new friends with whom I hadn’t gotten to talk to much approached me.  West said, “I hear you could benefit from a seat in my plane tomorrow.” Slightly confused, I said, “Well, no, I don’t think so, I’m on a red-eye...

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A series of Aprils

Apr 18

A series of Aprils

I love spring.  I always have.  It’s a time of hope and promise and the green is evidence that life abounds.  I was going to post a picture, but then I started looking at pictures from Aprils of the past, and I decided to post a series of April pics.  (If you get my blogs via email, you may have to go to the site to see the pics–sorry!  I am still a techno-goober with no ability to troubleshoot.) April 2004: Brad and I on our honeymoon.  (We got married New Year’s Eve, but took our honeymoon over my spring break.)  Did you know I was a history teacher in my professional life?  Happy days as newlyweds. Skip a couple of years, and fast forward to April 2007.  How cute is she???  My sweet Maren–6 years ago! April 2008.  Maren, NanaRozzer, and I traveled to Australia so that Maren could meet my amazing Australian family.  This trip was (mostly) paid for using the savings account I built into as a teenager babysitting.  How/Why that money wasn’t spent during college, I’ll never know.  But these memories are priceless.  How’s this for a four generation shot? (L to R: Maren, Me, Rozzer, GGma Ma)  I love this picture; it is so representative of our awesome family. April 2009.  We’re living in a different state, and Maren is the same age in this picture as Greta is today.  Craziness. April 2010.  Brad and I went to Europe to celebrate his graduation from Chicago Booth with his MBA.  I love that we took a big trip at the 6 1/3 year mark in our marriage.  We don’t wait for the round numbers around here.  Here’s to us in Cinque Terre! April 2011.  Almost Greta time.  Happy anticipation for becoming a family of four.  Full of hope and joy. April 2012.  One month into my cancer journey, and this April day remains one of my best memories of my life.  I remember being full of hope on this day, too: if losing my hair can be a happy day, anything is possible.  Cancer free is possible. April 2013.  Today, I am cancer free.  I’m off to a writer’s workshop in another state today.  I’m...

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Dr. Knockout

Apr 16

I decided I wanted a new OB/GYN in this post-cancer period.  Since it is inadvisable for me to have more children (since my cancer was hormone positive), my new OB/GYN will only be my GYN. Upon hearing this news initially, Brad and I had the same reaction.  “It’s okay; we just want to raise the two beauties we already have.” Up until March 2012, I was satisfied with my OB/GYN practice, of which I’d been a patient for 10 years.  However.  They did miss my breast cancer, which the doctors believe started between the ages of 22 and 27.  In hindsight, and as a super-duper-educated about breast cancer person, I had some (a few) warning signs and I think that someone along the way should have said, “You should have a mammogram (or MRI) just to be sure.”  So, I wanted a clean start in the OB/GYN department.  I wouldn’t say I have animosity or bitterness towards my old practice, but I am ready to start fresh. I asked Dr. Wonderful for an OB/GYN recommendation, and he did not have a go-to name, which I found a little surprising. I asked Dr. Awesome, and she paused to give it some honest reflection.  Then she said, “For you, I think Dr. Knockout would be a great fit.”  I nodded, happy to have a name, and Dr. Awesome continued, “She’ll give you a really thorough assessment and look at the whole picture.” I had my first appointment with Dr. Knockout this week, and I liked her a LOT.  Dr. Awesome was absolutely right: she’s the perfect OB/GYN for me.  We spent about 30 minutes together, and Dr. Knockout did look at the whole picture.  On one side there is my normal, healthy 32-year-old self (who delivers 8 lb. 9 oz. and 10 lb. 8 oz. babies in under five minutes thank-you-very-much.)  On the other side there is the hairy scary cancer at a young age.  It’s a big picture to wrap one’s brain around, and I definitely like doctors who take both sides into consideration when making medical decisions. After we finished my medical history and exam, it became even more apparent as to why Dr. Awesome had matched us.  Dr....

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Little boxes

Apr 12

Today I wrote thank you notes for gifts given to me in March.  Yes, I’m still very behind.  Even while I’m not actively fighting cancer, I still need grace in areas like this because I just don’t have it all together.  But then, if I’ve learned anything in my adult life it’s this: no one has it all together. Phew; I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that.  We all show up and do the best we can, every day.  Right? I’m getting back in the gym routine, and today I did a class called Mat Pilates.  (I’ve been bouncing around trying machines, swimming, classes, in a haphazard-let’s-try-this-today-way.)  I left today’s class thinking: that was very yoga-y, and surprisingly relaxing, and yet I worked out too.  I shall be doing more of that class, I think.  While I’m at the gym I also considered these very important questions: -What kind of sports bra should I wear?  I don’t actually need to wear one, remember, but it seems so weird not to.  So I do.  And then I wonder about it.  And I take a casual poll among girlfriends so they can weigh in because it is just weird, and I ask my girlfriends about weird things.  Welcome to my world. -What do short-haired people do with their hair when they are working out?  I hate sweaty hair in my face (even though it is only long enough to brush my forehead, I still don’t like it.)  I’ve tried various headbands/sweatbands/buffs in the privacy of my bathroom, and I end up looking like one of those really hideous 80’s aerobics VHS people.  I tried one of Greta’s little teeny weeny rubber bands to pull back the center section, and it looked ridiculous–as you can probably imagine.  I’ve tried clips, but the number of clips to control the hair gets out of control pretty quickly.  I’m telling you, bald was easier people.  That actually tells you a lot about me: I’m pretty clueless in the realm between “baldness” and “ponytail”.  🙂 The gym has continued to be a great thinking place for me.  I pray a lot while I’m there.  It feels decadent to take time for...

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