Don’t these things happen in threes?

Jan 23

Don’t these things happen in threes?

This morning I showed up for coffee with a friend exactly on time.  So I was pretty proud of myself, obviously.  By 9:40am, I checked our text thread to make sure I was at the correct Starbucks.  At 9:41am, I checked my calendar to make sure that we were in fact meeting this Wednesday and not next Wednesday.  I considered calling her, but figured she’s not that late, so I should wait a bit longer.  Lord knows I am not the one to hound anyone about timeliness. And then I realized it’s Tuesday, and I showed up for a coffee date twenty-four hours early. And then I texted her because I can’t not share my hilarity:   Last week, I was slinging dinner around the kitchen.  I set water to boil on the stove, I turned the temperature down on the oven, I set the table.  I thought, “I wonder if I should put the veggies in now; when will Maren be home?” And then my stomach plummeted because I remembered that I was the pick up parent for volleyball practice.  I snapped the oven off, hollered at Greta to “Get in the van QUICK!”, and grabbed my keys.  I eyed the clock as I pulled out of the driveway. Practice had ended a full thirty minutes prior.  Ooops.  I called the other carpool families en route, and told them, “Kiddo is going to be home a bit late from practice, mmmkay?” “Sure, no problem,” said the friends because I am only friends with people who have a high capacity for grace-giving. “Just to be clear, everything is fine (I think), and it’s just that I forgot to pick them up.  No excuses, no logic, I was just making dinner and just plumb forgot.” Friend says, “That is….. ….. awesome!  That is hilarious!” she laughed, “You are never going to live this down.” She’s so right.  And then she asked, “Do you need me to go turn anything off at your house since you were in the middle of making dinner?” “No.”  Then I thought about it, “Hmmmm, er, maybe,” I stammered.  “I mean, I know I turned off the oven, but it is entirely possible that I left...

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Remember this

Jan 22

Remember this

Last weekend our little family of four spent forty-eight hours in a little remote cabin in the woods.  It was rustic, remote, cozy, and exactly what we needed.  Brad planned the whole thing and he always delivers the most amazing relationship building experiences.  I love my husband. We packed snow gear and sled, board games galore, books, knitting (Maren), friendship bracelet string (Greta), new Christmas art supplies, and all the coloring things.  When it was time to load the car, Brad gazed upon the bags (andbagsandbagsandbags) by the door and said, “How long are we going for?!”  Sorry honey, we do need all the things. The four of us stopped at a teeny tiny grocery store that is one of the stores that Brad is currently working with at his job, so it was interesting for him to see another client, and for all of us do the shopping together.  The girls got PopTarts which is a direct correlation to their current opinion that grocery shopping is one of their most favorite things to do. On Saturday we settled in with a cozy fire, reading time, a game of Monopoly, and exploring every detail of our cabin in the woods.  On Sunday morning, the girls decided to burn off some steam and mess up the pristine snow surrounding the cabin.  I retrieved the book Maren asked me to read: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and I began rooting for the main character from the very first page.  Steamin coffee in hand, I nestled into an exceptionally comfortable recliner with a view out the front window to the hillside where my daughters played.  I alternated between reading my book and looking out the window.  The two bright spots of turquoise and magenta charged around with an intensity made stronger by the white blanket and crisp air around them.  They explored and circumnavigated our cabin. Sometimes their voices carried the waft and simmer of strategic planning and camaraderie.  Other times I heard shouts and squeals of glee.  And of course I heard tones of discontent and weight.  All of it is the verbage of siblings, different accents in the same language.  They made snow angels and...

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My regimen(t)

Jan 15

It’s about that time: I’ve been on this drug combination long enough to understand how I feel and to get into a routine.  I’m on Herceptin (infusions through my port), Faslodex (shots), and Ibrance (oral pills); I like that these three are all administered differently: as I visualize cancer being destroyed, I like that I have a variety of pathways of attack.  I liken my regimen to my regiment: warriors for good. This combo is treating me really *really* well; I feel better than I have in two years.  Last winter I spent most of my days in bed, and this winter I have dusted off my recipe box, dumbbells, and bookshelf.  In a potent way, it feels like I am also dusting off my brain and my body: I’m asking both of them to function in arenas that I haven’t attempted in — literally — years.  One example is how different this holiday season was for us: Brad and I did the math and figured out that we served our combined families three hundred meals over eleven days when we hosted them back-to-back in December.  It is a big blessing to have the energy to serve; I’ve missed it. In seasons where I am sick from my treatments, I have spoken about the things that I give up: everything from cooking for my family to being in shape, from having a job to volunteering at church.  I’ve given up a lot.  I’ve also spoken about the blessing of this process: I have had the privilege of evaluating and holding on to only my most dear priorities.  I’ve had to pare down to the core essence of Jen, and fight for the things that make me feel the most alive.  I never do anything because I ‘should’.  Few get to be as fiercely intentional with their most valuable resource (time) as I do.  I get credit for this, as does Brad, and my entire village for helping us with a level of commitment that often overwhelms me. Now in this season of betterness, I feel I’ve gotten to pause and look around at the treasures at my feet and decide which ones I am going to pick up.  Ironically,...

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Dear December, we can only laugh

Dec 15

Dear December, we can only laugh

Evidence it is December: Greta’s teacher called me last week right when Greta got to school.  “Jen,” she said, “Everything is fine, but I just want to you to know that Greta showed up with two lunches (packed in two separate lunch boxes) today.” I laughed because what else can you do? I had just spent the twenty minutes between when Greta gets on the bus and when Maren gets on the bus running around looking for Maren’s lunch box and muttering like a crazy lady, “I know I packed it.  Where is it?”, said, “Ah HA!  I am losing my ever-loving mind.  Thank you for telling me where it is, and I sent Maren to school with a different lunch.  I was sure I was going to find it in the dryer or something.” God bless our teachers who take care of our kids and their mamas. — I went to wash my face at the end of a long day and looked in the mirror to find that I had only put mascara on one eye.  (My eyelashes and eyebrow hair color can best be described as ‘clear’, so it is a stark difference to have one eye made up and the other not.) Ooops.  That was an interesting look for a Tuesday.. — I went in to school last week and had lunch with Maren and her friend, we’ll call her Peppy.  Peppy joined us after she went through the lunch line, and the three of us sat down at a table.  Peppy was eyeing her calzone with a funny look, so I asked, “What’s with the look on your face; I can’t read what you are thinking right now, but it looks amusing?!” Peppy, “Well, my mom announced this morning that she’s not making lunches or doing laundry anymore.”  Peppy is eleven, and she says this with a deferential tone and shrug wherein I could infer that this was a long time coming. I pretty much burst out laughing, knowing daughter and mother as I do.   “Did you get a warning or a heads up or anything, or did this just happen?” “Nope, no warning,” she laughed and shook her head, “But I don’t...

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‘Tis that time of year

Nov 30

‘Tis that time of year

Tomorrow is December first, and our conversation at breakfast this morning was focused on elves.  Greta goes to a school that is all kindergartners and first graders.  There is not a chair in the school where the seat is above my knee, and it has the largest lost-and-found quadrant you ever did see in a school. This former high school teacher’s opinion is that it is basically a building full of minions and everyone who works there is a saint. The staff are amazing, the principal is everybody’s favorite, and it’s just altogether adorable. Many of the teachers — in their infinite wisdom about leveraging every resource to maximize learning — have an elf come to their classrooms in December.  I think this is awesome.  Last year an elf appeared in Greta’s classroom, and there has never been a more exciting thing to happen in kindergarten.  The first thing they did was vote on a name based on suggestions from the kids.  The winner?  Jenna Tinkle Winkle. Is that not the best elf name ever?  All month long I was regaled with tales of Jenna Tinkle Winkle and her antics. You know where this is going, right?  Greta still believes in all things Christmas (YAY!), and at the rate she’s going she might be like my sister and never admit that it’s not real.  Greta asked me this morning if an elf was coming to our house, “Because, like, every single person in my class,” she says with great weight and drama in her tone, “has elves in their house.”  This is so Greta; she has a pulse on her peers and knows what people think and say about all the things. “Huh.  Hmmm.  Erm,” I say, because I’m rapidly assessing whether I have the capacity and motivation to elf it up this December.  I’ve never elfed before, and I know it’s a whole thing. “Maybe I will write a note to the elf and put it under my pillow and tell her to come out,” she says nonchalantly. I blink. “Why are you going to do that?” “Mom.  That’s how I talk to the Tooth Fairy,” her tone full of authoritative knowledge.  “Don’t you think it is how I...

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