That awkward moment

May 02

This morning, I walked down my driveway, ready to run.  A woman in a minivan I didn’t know pulled over, sort of apologized for interrupting me, introduced herself as a blog reader, and told me she’s been praying for me.    I think there were tears in her eyes.  And her reaching out to me brought tears to my eyes.  I swear, half of the blog comments bring tears to my eyes too.  And I’m not really a sappy kinda girl.

Yesterday, an elderly man stopped me at the post office to say, “I recognize the look.  My wife is doing well seven years after she looked like you.  I wish you the best; you look beautiful.”  Another stranger, another blessing.  He didn’t notice and look away: he made a difference in my day.  I want to be like that.

Last week I walked into Maren’s preschool and bumped into another mom I had chit chatted with, but didn’t really know very well.  I awkwardly blurted, “Did you know I have cancer?” and proceeded to fill her in and even whipped off my scarf to show her my bald head.  The poor woman engaged and we had what I think was a nice conversation, based on the circumstances.  She was quite gracious, and I was quite clumsy.

I am, perhaps, oversharing.

But.  Here’s the thing.  I would so much rather have the awkward moment that gets quickly shoved out of the way to make room for real connection with real people.  Rather than having people whisper and hypothesize about the bald mom, I’d rather they just know.  Know me.

The blog began as a way for me to process, then as a way to keep family/friends informed.  Now, it seems to be a part of the story too.  I can’t imagine having cancer without writing about it.  I can’t imagine writing without cancer… but wait… a smile spread over my face as I typed that thought.  Let’s all look forward to that day, ey?  It’s risky to put myself out there: by blogging, by not hiding my bald head in my house, by proactively telling my story to people I don’t really know.  It is sometimes hard to go out of what is comfortable.  But, the reward is great.  I feel God has told me to go-tell-share my story and get-past-the-awkward.  That’s where the good stuff is.  I want to know you, too.  So, stop me in your minivan, corner me in the grocery store, and comment out loud.  It’s really nice to meet you.



  1. Awww…you hve got to be one of the most REAL people I’ve met all year.

    God bless you, and what you see as awkwardly clumsy I see as embracing.

    So beautiful.

  2. Linda K. Howard /

    Hi Jen…I have “known you” over the years as Ros’ eldest daughter…hearing stories from my sister Beth of you and your sisters growing up. I have shared your cancer with the prayer warriors who prayed my husband thru his cancer. My sister-in-law called me tonight and asked….”How’s Jennifer?” So I just wanted you to know that even though we don’t “know you” personally, we know you in our hearts and we lift you in our prayers. You are an inspiration….you are indeed loved. Linda Howard

  3. It’s wonderful to hear all the love you’re feeling from not just those who know you well but those you’re touching with your journey. You are touching so many lives with your writing and inspiring others!

  4. I love this post! I especially love that the elderly man told you how beautiful you look. So sweet! You have such an amazing attitude. I will continue to pray for you. Thank you for being so open!

  5. Tina Mathie /

    Love and prayers as always. Your blog has made me laugh out loud, cry like a baby and feel warm fuzzies…you have such an amazing talent. Love you my dear!! So glad that Maren is having so much fun. It’s a wonderful experience for her and also for ‘phenom’s children’. I Hope Greta and Brad are also doing well!! Much love to you all!! XoX

  6. Sue Nitz /

    Hi Jen! I love all your stories. What an inspiration! You are so real and so wonderful. Thank you for allowing me to read your story and make comments. I hope that they have helped just a little. I know God is listening to all our prayers. Gosh if every comment and prayer that was made helped just a little, no wonder you are so exuberant! My daughter, Sandra, (the one you met at the Little Gym) sent me a text message and told me she signed up for another run. Race For the Cure. So I am going to make her a little prayer card with all the names of those I know that have cancer and she is going to run for them. She said it would make it even more special and meaningful to be able to do that. So I hope you feel her love coming through on Saturday too. Some other things for you to look forward too……BED HEAD! Love you and hopefully I will see you soon. Been thinking about stopping by.

  7. Lindsay /

    Yea! BTW, I imagine those cancer cells are on their way out the door. You seem like an awesome gal, especially in the way you’re telling cancer that’s it’s not welcome in your body! Love it. Happy Wednesday!

  8. God bless you. I always feel shy to talk to people, leave alone people who are obviously “different”. But now, with an almost two-year-old pretending I don’t see isn’t an option. This post helps me see that saying something gracious (or awkward) is actually a good option. God blees you!

  9. Radha /

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now, hearing about you while searching for something else online. I sat and read every post from day one and every single one filled me with gratitude. There I was, sitting in my home in a little village in West Bengal with my husband and three-year-old, and on the other side of the planet, I think maybe in my hometown (Meijer, Miami U, and the UC scrubs on the surgeon gave it away!), is a mom and wife who is learning – and teaching me – that every moment is so precious. In this last month, you have give me such a precious gift. You have made me a better wife and mother and reminded me of what truly matters and what does not. And though I’d like to think I’m here in this little village trying to do the Lord’s work, it is you who have strengthened my faith beyond words.

    Thank you. I am praying for you every day. And when we are visiting my parents in West Chester next week, I’ll be on the lookout for a beautiful bald mommy shopping at Meijer!

  10. Bonniebj /

    Sometimes the awkward moments contain the most special blessings..and that’s good. Have a wonderful day Jen. It’s good to share, reflect and muse; your virtual journal is such a treat for all to share.

  11. Tracy /

    Thank you for sharing your story about your battle!!! I dont know you, I don’t know where you live, I don’t know details about your childhood. But I have fallen in love with your family, in love with your story, and pray for you daily. I have updates coming to my email when you post a new blog, I can’t get enough! Blog on sister!!! I’m so glad that you enjoy it and that it gives you joy & comfort because I love reading it!!!

  12. chubbyroad2skinny /

    I think that’s a great idea, just getting it out there right off the bat with people. I would be one of those awkward people who wasn’t sure if they should say something or not, so I BET you people so appreciate that. And it brought tears to my eyes when I read what that man at the post office said. 🙂

  13. I like that you welcome the comment. So many people are afraid of that awkwardness…thanks for putting it out all out there. I hope you have a great day!

  14. AMEN ~ Jen, You have just helped us know what to say to someone who has cancer ~ Get The White Elephant Out of the room !!!! Then see the person 🙂 Jen again, you need to write a book ~ You are a Blessing to all ~ AMEN 🙂

  15. Karen Almand /

    Jen-You amaze me every time I read your blog! It’s Karen from Memphis again. Just wanted you to know I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Said a decade of the rosary for you when I prayed it this week. Just wanted you to know. I love you and I don’t even know you! You are becoming a hero of mine!

  16. Kristen /

    Hi. I have been reading since the beginning, but have never left you a comment. I feel a connection with you because I am pretty much you…. We are the same age, I have a young daughter, I have strawberry blond hair, and I sweat wildly when I run. :). I pray for you every time I read your blog and every night at dinner when we say grace I add a note “for the girl in Ohio with breast cancer.”. Keep on trucking, girl. You are doing it! You are doing it so well!

  17. Sometimes I feel like blurting out “do you know I’m pregnant?” and lifting up my clothing to point at it. I’m barely showing and even so, it’s barely noticeable. Although pregnancy is a beautiful miracle, I feel like I am fighting a raging battle inside and Good will triumph. I know it’s silly to compare pregnancy to cancer, but I thought it was worth a chuckle for you to know a little bit about my process. Although everyone knows me as super nanny for the past 12 years of my adult life, I have always been uber queasy about P-R-E-G-N-A-N-C-Y and good Lord, C-H-I-L-D-B-I-R-T-H. I have put up birth affirmations all over my house just to combat my fears and queasiness for what is to come. They read: I trust my body; My body is full of light and love; My body knows exactly what to do; Birth is a wonderful and safe experience; My baby is strong and healthy. I think I will have to borrow “Go chemo Go” and change it to “Go contractions Go” along with the enthusiasm that you exude. You inspire me and I love you.

  18. Yesterday, an elderly man stopped me at the post office to say, “I recognize the look. My wife is doing well seven years after she looked like you. I wish you the best; you look beautiful.”

    It is the look of a positive warrior. ♥ And it is no wonder that you are upbeat — there are no elephants in the room weighing you down!
    Thank you for blogging, Jen. You don’t know me, but I love you and I’m praying for you and your family. ♥

  19. I really just have no words, Jen. I admire your attitude so much. Keep on fighting and I’ll keep on praying. 🙂

  20. This brought tears to my eyes. You’re teaching me a lot.

  21. perceptivitystudio /

    So glad that Momastery brought me here to share your story. You really do make all of us strangers out there want to be your friend. Know that we are all out there pulling for you, whether we meet you on the street or just know your words on a computer screen!
    –Jen with two boys

  22. Vanessa /

    I’ve been following your blog since day three. I saw it on Momastery. I check in every day Thank you for sharing such a personal and intimate experience with complete strangers. I look forward to your posts and have enjoyed ‘getting to know’ you and your family. Your positive attitude is inspiring.

  23. ohiofishergirl /

    We love you Jen!!!! Hugs, Lauri, Dale, and Ricki

  24. Stacy /

    I have loved your posts…this one especially. And have wanted to tell you too that I have a little one named Marin (spelled differently you can see) who will be 4 in July. And another sweet 18 month old named Leah. You speak to what I know in so many ways. We pray for you…I am sure there are so, so many more you are reaching. More than you know. Very best wishes and love.

  25. Katiejane /

    You are beautiful inside and out. I am praying for you and if I knew you I would stalk you in the grocery store – but not really stalk, that’s creepy – just to say “you are a rock star!” you have a gift in your writing . I am honored to be able to share in your journey. Blessings….

  26. So very profound. You are amazing.

  27. Jana /

    “I would so much rather have the awkward moment that gets quickly shoved out of the way to make room for real connection with real people.” Me too. ME TOO!

  28. Christy /

    Hi Jen, your minivan driving neighbor here! Glad I ran into you the other day & I am continuing to lift you up on my jogs! And yes, tears in my eyes. Fight on!


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