Sister is a verb

Jul 31

Sister is a verb

One of the best things I’ve done in a while is to take a seven mile walk in the woods with my sisters.  Seriously.  It was so. much. fun.  I love my sisters. We sistered each other, and I feel my Jen-ness percolating.  I hope their -ness’s are percolating too. This weekend was the first time we’d done a sister’s trip: it was suggested and gifted by dear friends who had the foresight to know what we needed before we had identified it as a need ourselves.  It won’t be the last....

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I refuse

Jul 24

I actually have my “-ist’s” as my favorites in my phone: my oncologist, my cardiologist and my podiatrist. My oncologist and my cardiologist operate in STAT mode most of the time: cancer and heart problems can quickly snowball so their offices absorb tons of calls and impromptu visits.  Podiatrists do not operate in STAT mode.  Podiatrists don’t have a lot of emergencies, so my podiatrist has added an asterisk in my chart: if I call, his staff are to get me in STAT.  I do love that about my doctors.  STAT.  Once again, I’m special. I’ve had a bunch of nail problems over the past two and a half years.  This often happens to chemo patients, but for some reasons all of my problems have concentrated in my toes and fingers.  Since I’m well-versed in the other possible side-effects of cancer/chemo, I feel pretty good about having pesky toenail/fingernail issues.  It’s a blessing, actually.  I see my podiatrist at least once a quarter (usually more) and everything rolls on. After losing it three times, my left big toenail is growing in again, and there’s a corner that is growing in instead of out.  It doesn’t hurt, but it probably will eventually.  This month my podiatrist suggests a mini surgery: a chemical matricectomy.  It requires three weeks of healing time and staying out of natural bodies of water during that time.  With my fickle digits, I don’t want to risk breaking the rules: I seem to be prone to infections. A look at my summer calendar: I’ve got camping, a lake vacation, a canoe trip, and dreams of a lake blob upcoming.  All in natural bodies of water.  I do not have a three week window this summer where I can sit on the bench. After all those fun summer water events will be autumn.  When we will scan. SO.  Do I have my chemical matricectomy and sideline myself from some of the summer activities so that IF cancer pops up and I need more chemo, I won’t have to worry about my TOE? Good grief.  My toe, for pete’s sake.  But it’s a legit risk. I booked the appointment for the surgery and sighed as I thought of the...

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Soaked

Jul 23

Soaked

The neighbors must have thought we were nuts. NanaRoz stopped by, returning with the girls after an impromptu outing.  They were armed with a stack of new library books, including a story about a little Japanese girl who makes origami animals.  In true NanaRoz style, she had then found a ‘how to’ origami book to check out too.  Following the theme, they went to the craft store; Maren had a packet of origami paper and Greta had a new coloring book AND new markers. We sat on our back patio — our summer oasis — with the fan blazing because it was HOT.  Greta bebopped around: in and out of her play house, filling up and pouring at the water table, showing me her markers. As Maren and NanaRoz created little origami animals, I grabbed the hose to water my patio pots and soak some of my trees.  I traipsed around the yard with the hose and smiled at the life-giving going on in my space. The next thing I know, Greta sidled up to me stark naked.  What’s a mama to do in this instant?  I immediately turned the hose on her and she squealed with surprise and ran away. And then, with a ginormous grin on her face, she came running back for more. She continued near and far, near and far.  In range, out of range, in range, out of range.  She squealed with fake fear and giggled and she streaked through the wet grass.  Her legs and mine were covered in wet grass clippings.  At one point she ran around the whole house –through the front yard too– in case any neighbors had missed our antics. Maren and Nana watched, laughing — laughing hard.  Maren began asking for a turn with the hose, and I said, “Sure come and get it.”  As soon as she got with in range, I soaked her.  Everyone — including Maren — had to see that coming, right? She couldn’t decide whether to be furious or to play along like her sister.  In an effort to have the fun win over the fury, I gave Greta the hose and shielded Maren with my body as we three ran around the...

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Sisters

Jul 22

Sisters

Greta was following Maren, “Sissy, sissy I want to play with you!” Maren, “Greta, I just need some time alone, okay?” Greta, “But Sissy, I want to play with you.” Maren, “No thank you.” Greta, “Sissysissysissysissysissy,” chasing, chasing, chasing. Maren, “Grrrreeeeettttaaaaa!  I need SPACE.” Greta, “No, Maren, NO!” It was about at this point that I intervened.  “Whelp girls, no worries, it’s not playtime and it’s not alone time.  It’s get dressed time.  Maren, pick out some clothes and get dressed.  Greta come with me.”  Maren inhales deeply and goes to her room.  Greta wiggles into her room. Greta snuffle-whines that she was really, really wanting to play and Maren was really, really mean today.  I explain that sometimes sisters play together and sometimes sisters play separately.  “Not me,” she says solemnly.  “I always play with Maren for everyday in the whole world.”  I smile at her declaration.  I think: that’s love. Maren hollers from her bedroom, “MOM, can Greta wear her pink stripy dress so we can match?” “Sure, ” I say, forgetting that I had vowed not to respond to hollering.  I know it’s Maren’s peace offering.  Greta loves to match Maren. “NO!” says Greta simultaneously.  It’s ironic because the dress is pink, twirly and one of her favorites. Maren trudges in to Greta’s room wearing the big girl pink stripy dress with her body language letting me know she is still angst-ridden from the earlier pestering.  I eye Greta with the little girl pink stripy dress in my hand.  Greta stands wearing Minnie Mouse panties with her arms crossed and a scowl.  We call it The Greta Stink Eye because it is serious.  I kneel in front of Greta.  “Remember how Maren hurt your feelings when she wouldn’t play with you?” “Yes,” says pouty scowly Greta as she casts the look in Maren’s direction.  Because, you know, drama is for the audience. I continue in my best patient mommy tone which ideally would translate into being an actual Patient Mommy, “Well, Maren wants you to wear your special sisters dresses today so you can be matching buddies, and when you won’t do do fun sister things with Maren it hurts her feelings too.” “Harumph,” says Greta....

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My children underfoot

Jul 12

Our summer days are very free and fluid.  Sometimes we have a plan for the day, sometimes not.  If a thunderstorm crops up, we sit on the covered patio to watch it roll in or pop in a movie for some quiet time on the couch.  If it’s hot we do something in the water.  If it’s nice out we take advantage of one of the many outdoor play-places our town has to offer. I’m not taking time to write much because I’m not wanting to miss these windows to play Lego, to color together, to wrap my arms around them and measure their height against my ribs.  I miss writing daily, but I’ve missed leisure with them more over this past winter season.  They do quite a bit of independent play as I keep up with the house jobs, and it is so fun to listen to them.  I love to eavesdrop on their imagination play as I move through the house. We’ve been pool junkies for the month of June with Maren on the swim team and Greta in swimming lessons.  We don’t have to be at the pool until 10am, so it gives a leisurely morning since we are still early risers, and then we all enjoy having an energy-burner on the docket for the day.  Our afternoons vary widely. Thanks to NanaRoz, we are doing the local library’s reading program.  Maren is going to the juvenile fiction section and choosing her own books.  She chooses 2-3 books a week and curls up for hours at a time to read.  We’ve read some Blume, Dahl and American Girl books, but her favorite summer series are the Mallory books by Laurie B. Friedman.   I choose most of Greta’s books as she grabs whatever is shiny at the instant.  Last week’s favorite, Little Bunny Foo Foo: The Real Story by Cori Doerrfeld, was very giggle-worthy and we read it so many times she was able to recite it (almost verbatim) to Brad at dinner. Maren has mastered her (24″!) bicycle that she got for her birthday.  (Yes, she’s a tall girl!)  It’s got hand brakes, which made me nervous, but she transistioned with no problem whatsoever.  It’s got...

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