Helping them see: I am beautiful

Feb 23

Helping them see: I am beautiful

Last week Greta and I spent a day doing errands together; four-year-olds are fun to take places.  They (mostly) hold hands in parking lots, (mostly) have good behavior, and always have awesome conversation and make the mundane tasks much more interesting. Greta is always pretty animated, so there is never a dull moment.  As we were rounding up one of our stops, she said, “I think I’m ready to get my hair cut!” Since this is something I’ve had on my mind for a while and been actively suggesting, I jumped on the chance, and called our favorite salon.  (Shout out to Lunatic Fringe in Liberty Township.)  I’ve had several terrible (and you know how bad it must have been for me to use the word terrible) salon experiences since dealing with baldness/cancer hair, and so was delighted to have found a great spot with wonderful service in 2015 that is sensitive to the needs of a cancer family.  I can’t recommend them highly enough if you are looking for a salon in my area. Greta and I were lucky enough to steal a same-day appointment, and she emerged with an awesome new ‘do.    She is such a fun kid, and she loves her look.  Her outfit pictured was compiled herself: I just wish you could see the polka-dot/kitty-cat tights better.  Her sense of style is legit.  Yesterday she was trying to convince me to let her put on make-up, something that Maren has never shown interest in. The morning after Greta got her haircut, Maren was working on her morning routine, which obviously involves brushing her hair.  She has lots of curl, especially underneath, so I could exactly envision the tangle she was working through when she called down to the kitchen with a note of exasperation in her voice, “Mom!  I am ready to get my hair cut like Greta’s!” I fist-pumped in the kitchen as I called back, “Can I make the appointment today?” as I wanted to seize the opportunity of willingness and end the tangle-drama we’ve been experiencing. Two-for-two, we got another same-day appointment (they are really accommodating!), and Maren is thrilled with her light and free look.  The stylist straightened it which was...

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Hats and answered prayers

Feb 22

Hats and answered prayers

One of the prayers  when I was previously bald was that the girls and I would all have ponytails together one day.  It was just a visualize picture of teeny weeny significance in the grand scheme of things, but as my hair grew tiny bit by tiny bit, that ponytail prayer kept coming to mind and I held on to the hope that one day all three of us would have ponytails.  I love being a mom of girls… it is just so in tune with who I am down to my core.  Moreover, I love the essence of the ponytail: sweeping your hair out of your face so that you can go, dance, do, be, adventure, climb, run, chase, dive, flip, jump.  It’s the physical mark that, for me and a lot of girls I know, says: game on.  We are girl, hear us roar. One day last week as my hair was starting to fall out, I realized that today was a day that all three of us could wear our hair in ponytails, and I wanted a picture of it.  We fixed ponytails for the girls (mine was already ‘tailed, which should surprise no one who knows me in real life), and I had Chief Sister snap a picture when she was over for dinner last week while Brad was traveling. As far as I can recall, it’s the only picture we have where all three of us have some kind of ponytail in our hair.  Although, since I’ve been able to pull mine partially back for a few months, there may be more.  No one else has reason to notice the significance of this simple shot.  But, to me it’s an answered prayer.  I asked God for it, I kept my eyes open and hopeful, and I opted to take the picture when I thought of it rather than let the opportunity pass.  This moment was a good example of how I choose joy (that’s a question I get a lot these days): rather than wallowing in the bummer-ness of my actively shedding hair, I realized that if I see myself as I am today, with today’s blessings, I have a lot to be grateful for… even answered...

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Crocodile tears

Feb 13

Crocodile tears

Yesterday we did the big shave for my hair. For those of you paying too-close-attention, you will realize that this is the day after Maren’s big party at school for which I was one of the coordinators.  Folks, it is a flat-out miracle that my hair hung in there; pre-buzz yesterday it was falling out in locks as I walked around the kitchen making pancakes.  Over the last two weeks, we’ve offered lots of folks the opportunity to give my hair a tug and watch as their eyes grow with surprise when they effortlessly get a lock of hair.  I still can’t believe it stayed through five chemo treatments. Maren had prayed that my hair would keep for the party on Thursday, and I dubiously prayed along with her.  My hair hung in a full week longer than I was expecting; I was so worried about not having hair (for her sake) on Monday that while I was in the chemo room I ordered myself a wig.  Oh, the things we do to show love to our children, right?  Wearing a wig to her school feels like playing soccer in stilettos to me, but I would do it — and do it with joy — for her.  It worked out; her teacher had the brilliant suggestion of making it a hat party just-in-case, and then my lack-of-hair would have been less obvious.  It turns out we didn’t “need” the hat but wore one anyway, and Maren’s face lit up the room. Our family is seeing God show up in these daily moments; He is tangibly present, and we are so grateful.  He answered her prayer for “normal Mommy hair” for her party.  We as a family believe He can heal me at any time, but we also acknowledge that’s not what He’s doing today.  Our faith is not conditional upon my healing; we believe He is good and will use our story for good.  But oh my, my heart cries out for that miracle with crocodile tears! Yesterday the shave itself was fun; two of my college roommates were with us, and their presence made it more fun and lighter and easier.  My friends are awesome; they move around me...

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Three cheers for G!

Feb 09

Three cheers for G!

This morning we got the delightful message of a surprise snow day as we woke up.  Yay! Greta is continuing her blooming independence with her self-implement morning routine.  She usually wakes up, and gets dressed immediately–still in her own Greta-styled fashionista outfits.  Then she goes downstairs by herself (lately she’s been up before Maren and me), and often catches Brad before he leaves.  Her go-to breakfast is Greek yogurt, and, if there are unguarded berries in the fridge, she will eat them all!  This morning she had a solid two cups of berries (based on the empty container I found when I looked in the fridge later)! Once she had done all of that, she came into my room where Maren and I were lazily snuggling and planning our day to tell us she was excited to play in the snow.  She had made her own “mini snowman kit.”  She cut up a pipe cleaner to make arms and buttons, and got herself a whole bag of carrots.  (I’m not sure why she thought she needed so many carrots, but she might be the kind of whippersnapper who realizes that if there are no carrots in the fridge, I can’t serve her carrots for dinner.  Stinker.)  But she’s so cute and creative! She was off and into the snow before 9:00am this morning. When I went into Greta’s room to put something away, I saw that she had made her own bed again this morning.  What a morning with this kid!  She’s sneaking berries as treats, making her bed without my even knowing about it, and creating prolific art about the things and people she loves.  She’s such a brilliant kid, and I’m feeling like I hit the jackpot with this current streak of awesomeness. We always say that Greta will rule the world if she channels her mojo for good because she has so much mojo.  Today I see it: she’s doing it!  She’s doing it! It takes much fortitude to rebuke, redirect, criticize or discipline Greta.  She always thinks she is right!  It’s SO DIFFERENT than parenting her sister.  Maren is the kid who at the suggestion of wrongdoing would give the most sincere apology and heartfelt promise to...

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I have a cold, therefore I’m sort of on “pause”

Feb 07

Tonight I am trying the new-ish online shopping feature offered by my grocery store.  I’ve just clicked all the items into my cart, and — in theory — when I drive up to the pick up lane at the store tomorrow after chemo, some grocery store employee angel is going to load said groceries into my van.  Pretty cool, right?  My friends rave about it, and it seems pretty foolproof.  I haven’t tried it before now because I’m not exactly the I’m-so-organized-I-can-write-and-click-my-list-24-hour-in-advance kind of girl.  But, I made it happen on this lazy Sunday, so I’m pretty pumped about my productivity (even if that was pretty much the only thing I accomplished today) from the couch. I still have my cold which is bothering my chest and my ears in addition to the congestion from most of this week, so I’m hoping for a reprieve and recovery soon.  Tomorrow I go in for chemo and, as always, they will first check my blood counts to make sure my body is strong enough to take the hit.  Knowing my team, they’ll give me a thorough check up and decide whether more medical intervention is needed to try to speed up my recovery.  Despite the cold I’m hoping I will be good to have chemo as normal, as it is advantageous to stay on the cancer-killing regimen as prescribed.  It is safe to say that until I’ve kicked this cold, however, I’m only doing the minimum life stuff and logging extra couch time.  Brad did everything possible this weekend to set me up for as much rest and relaxation as I could get, so — as usual — he is taking care of me in every possible way.  I’m so lucky.  He’s so awesome; I’m in a awe of how he dotes on me. The February temperature hit fifty-four degrees today, and Maren and I took a walk around the neighborhood before she went to a fun “joy seeker club” meeting, organized by a friend.  Being out in the sunshine was lovely.  Greta was Brad’s shadow today; she was his sidekick, assistant, and lackey as they navigated their day.  She gave him a nickname the week I was traveling, and is a bit of a Daddy’s...

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