I’m in hiding

Apr 05

It’s true.  I now regularly hide from my youngest child.

Greta was born as one of those babies who knew her mama and would not tolerate anyone else holding her.  She, in all of her roly-poly ten pound eight ounce glory, was very vocal about her love for her mama from the moment she was born.  (I secretly loved this.  What mama wouldn’t?)  By contrast Maren, as an infant, would stare deep into the eyes of whomever was holding her with this great serious studious expression and be totally relaxed in posture.  Greta, if held by someone other than me, would simply wail unceasingly.  Bouncing, rocking, swaying, shushing, it was all in vain.  The moment she was back in my arms, she was fine.

So, Greta and have been rarely separated in her first ten months of life.  I’m a stay at home mom, and she’s cheerful for me, so why stress anyone else out by passing her off?  It worked for us.

We had problems with her taking a bottle.  The pediatrician said she would drink from the bottle when she got thirsty/hungry enough; I just had to wait-it-out.  Five days later (while still having appropriate wet/dirty diapers thanks to spoon-feeding), she still refused.  My girl: she is smart and she is stubborn.  But we conquered those hiccups and I went for my annual girls’ weekend away in February and came back again.  Greta knows that there are other safe, loving people in her teeny tiny world.

Greta crawled before six months and walked at nine months.  She’s running now, and opening cabinets, and climbing stairs, and unfolding laundry faster than it can be folded, and eating all of her sister’s most chokable toys, and is just so busy.  I love her and all of her awesomeness.  It takes a lot to keep up with her.  Every one of our army of caretakers over the past two weeks, in on way or another, have been in awe of what it takes to Just. Do. Greta.  (I find all their comments very validating, by the way.)  People that I view as super-human (ie, my parents) find she is a lot to take on.

Greta’s world is expanding every day, and, arguably, the pace has been ramped up by my diagnosis.  In the past two weeks, Greta’s hardest days (the days with the most crying) are the days where I am in and out, in and out.  Because being a cancer patient is a busy job, I am in and out a lot.  So now I, along with my cancer support team, plan out the day and when I will see Greta and when I will not.  This morning, I was home for three hours before I had to go to the doctor.  I whispered messages to Maren over the balcony.  She joined me in her bedroom for top secret board games.  I beat her at Chutes and Ladders (aka, The Game That May Never End with all those freaking slides).  She walloped me (as usual) at Memory.  We snacked on Saltines because she was hungry and we couldn’t go downstairs (because we were hiding from Greta) and I had Saltines on my nightstand in my bedroom.  Her 4-year-old brain and the “sponginess” of it is never more apparent than when we play Memory.  It is as if she is a genius (but every 4-year-old I know is a Memory genius, so I’m not just bragging about my kid).  I’m so glad I snuck in those moments with Maren today.

The plan was for me to have my appointment with Dr. Wonderful, come home after lunch, send Baby Sister back to her hometown, and be Regular Mom to Maren and Greta all afternoon/evening.

While at Dr. Wonderful’s office, they drew my blood to determine how I’m handling my chemotherapy.  The result of this blood draw is that, not surprisingly, my body’s defenses are down and I am very susceptible to any disease/illness/cold/flu/whatever.  In a small voice, I mentioned that, “Both my girls have colds.”

Brows furrowed, “Can anyone watch them for you tonight?”

And.  Booooo.  Just like that, my Regular Mommy window for the day flew away.  I drove away from Dr. Wonderful’s office, threw my juggling balls up in the air, and people caught them–again.  Baby Sister took the girls over to Awesome Friend’s house so that Awesome Friend can now watch and feed and chase and herd five children while I…

do laundry.

organize the pantry.

write thank you notes.



So, even though I’ve missed my Greta time for today, I am thankful that, for now, I do not feel sick with their cold.  Brad will go to Awesome Friend’s house after work and they will handle the whole evening hullaballoo without me.  And they will all survive.  And probably, thrive, because that’s what amazing people I do.  And remember?  Everyone I know is amazing.

I now have several hours alone in my house.  This is a luxury that I am not often granted.  I will take advantage of having time and space to work and think coherently.  When I lay my head on my pillow tonight, I will feel good about the choices I made today.  I’m doing the very best I can.

(And, I’m saying it here: My mom was right.  She’s a nurse and warned me about the whole immunocompromised thing.  Hear that Mom?  You were right.  I love you.)


  1. Sue Nitz /

    Hi Jen. Everyone in your life is amazing because you are amazing. Allowing others to be Christ for you is another gift you are giving. I am here for you praying and loving your beautiful personality.

  2. When my mom was battling ovarian cancer I would often go home, shower, and change before heading to her house after a full day as a 1st grade teacher. You’ve got to keep those germs away, but it must be so hard to be away from your girls. Enjoy the peace! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you and your girls will make it through this stronger and more resilient.

  3. We don’t know each other, but I am praying HARD every night for your peace and complete healing. Keep kicking cancer’s sorry ass!! XOXO

  4. Jane /

    I’m sorry to tell you this, but you just made my ‘People I wish lived next door to me’ list. Love love love your attitude girly! You are a wonderful example to the rest of us women on how life’s hardships can be traversed with humor, compassion and amazing strength. I’m sure you’re wondering who else is on my list—-
    Ellen DeGeneres
    Glennon of Momastery
    Pioneer Woman pre-2009
    Posie Gets Cozy
    and a few other ‘ner do wells.

    Your’e in good company!

  5. Melissa /

    I dont know you and have avoided commenting…..but I follow you, am praying for you and feel like I look into a very big window into your family. I want nothing more than your total cure, and will pray for nothing less.

  6. I hate it when moms are right about that kind of thing! (That said, I called mine today to get validation on my choice to keep my 22-month-old girl home (again!) from our MOMS Club Easter egg hunt because she is just getting over Hand, Foot, and Mouth and I don’t want her to get anyone else sick. Those nurse-moms are hard core and too often right.)

    I’m glad you’re writing. You are a gift to this world in so many ways.

  7. Rebecca /

    You. Are. Amazing.

    I have been checking your blog since Glennon linked you. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your world with us. In return I can send my prayers/thoughts/positive energy to you and your family. I really believe in the healing power of positive energy and I can tell you are getting a ton from so many people! Sister on!

  8. Julie /

    I am sending you a couple dozen handmade thank yous next Tuesday. Can I send all American Girl stuf with Jeanne for Maren to use? I would LOVE it and it would give her something to keep her occupied hours on end. Let me know via email. Thinking of you!

  9. kwadub /

    My bebe had me up at 4 this morning, and I spent time praying for you. That you were sleeping hard while your body worked to heal itself. Love from seattle…

  10. Jeni /

    I am one of nurses that work with your mom. your strengh and courage are amazing. Continued prayers for you and your family.

  11. This is so funny to me because I also regularly hide from my child. I call her my velcro child, because she would be glued to my side 24/7 if I let her