Regular Mommy

May 15

Today was a fun day.  I had no doctor’s appointments, I ignored my cancer-specific to-do lists and tasks; today I was Regular Mommy.  We played.  The house was disaster by six o’clock.  It was a great day.

We went to the local library.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people who doesn’t fully take advantage of the “free” element of the library.  Having to pay late fees before we can check out new materials is how we normally roll.  But not today!  Since Greta is a book addict, we’ve gotten maximum use out of the last round of books, and “library book return” has stayed high on my radar.  Also, an expert friend did the last library run, so the books were markedly better than our normal random, high-speed selections.  Today we returned library books on time.  Cue the trumpets.

Maren took approximately seven minutes to fill our book bag with new books, which actually worked out well because Greta is quite the book flinger. We proceeded to the checkout area with our cache, and Maren scanned the books while Greta flirted with other library patrons.  I realized the flaw in Maren’s, um, efficiency in choosing books: I don’t get to screen them first.  I saw a Barney Christmas book, as well as a book called What Happened to Grandma?  (Nana and Grandma are both a-okay, and we have enough challenging topics to address without adding more to our mix.)  Barney’s Christmas is suddenly looking pretty good.  Also, I may have to re-think how we approach our book selection at the library.

Later we met up with friends: we played in a park and splashed in fountains, we went to a playground, we had a picnic lunch.  I laughed with girlfriends and enjoyed watching kids being kids.  The boys ended up head-t0-toe muddy, and I never even saw the mud.  Seriously, where was it?  The girls check on each other before they move on to the next thing; it’s like they are already planning on going to the bathroom together when they’re double-dating.  I counted kids constantly.  I remained in awe of parents who have kids close in age: the chasing is epic, and their kid management makes me blink and take notes. I can barely hang on to my own four-years-apart kids.

Greta took a nap while Maren was at preschool.  Sticking to my guns about having a no cancer stuff day, I tackled a project documenting Maren’s Thanksgiving Feast for her preschool class, and made another mess.  Yes, I realize Thanksgiving was six months ago.  Hi, my name is Jen, and I’m a procrastinator.

Maren came home from preschool and played outside until dinner.  We live in a magical place where kids run around outside whenever the weather is nice.  They play together; they move as a herd.  All of the parents monitor, feed, hydrate, and mediate as necessary.  Games are made up out of thin air; toys and gadgets are abandoned for dirt and grass stains and imagination.  It is so fun to watch them and relive that childhood freedom.  These afternoons are one of those intangible wishes that every parent has for their child, and seeing it happen brings such joy.

Brad came home and we discussed week ahead and also our summer plans.  (Summer is almost here!)  We are wondering about Maren and swim team.  This year?  Next year?  We want to go away for a weekend: just the two of us.  What summer weekends are already booked?  Mostly, what memories do we want to make this summer?  I love my husband; I love our life together.

He goes upstairs to put Maren to bed.  I am tired.  Happy tired.  I like being Regular Mommy.  I’ve always loved and appreciated my role, my job, my life.  I loved today: the perfect mix of mess and moments.


  1. Lisa Mader /

    Thanks for sharing – praying for you on regular mommy days and all your days 🙂

  2. Kelly E. /

    It was so good to have a “regular mommy” conversation with you last night. Your impact on people is so large and so positive. I had a good feeling in my heart last night after seeing you doing so well and doing your regular mommy things. And I actually did the “twist” you showed me last night on Anna’s hair today for preschool. Said a little prayer of thanksgiving for coming to know you and your girls and a prayer for continued healing while I was attempting to make my twist look like yours 🙂

  3. I love this Jen. So glad you had a superb Regular Mommy day. May you have a million more! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  4. Marion /

    Jen- Is it really procrastinating unless it is the night before it is due?! I still have to do my portion of the preschool scrapbook too…glad I am not the only one not done with it yet! 🙂 It was such a beautiful day today – in so many ways! Thanks for being you!

  5. Laura /

    I love that you had a regular mommy day. 🙂
    A few unsoliceted library tips:
    1) Most libraries have on-line searchable catalogues. At whatever time you would like, you can go online, enter the ridiculously long number that is your library ID, search for books on particular topics and reserve them. The very lovely library staff will then track down those books and set them aside for you. (Many libraries have this service – hopfully, yours is one!) There will still be some surprises. I recently learned that “The Pirate Queen” may sound like great fun, but is actually a somewhat horrific biography not at all appropriate for a 5 year old at bedtime. Or any time, really. (She loves princesses and queens and pirates — it sounded perfect!!)

    2) It is likely that you can also sign up to have them email you to let you know a few days before your books are due. I live by this. We generally have 30-40 library items out from 2 different library systems at any given time. If you miss the email, they will email you a few days later to let you know you have books overdue. We manage to keep our fines to a minimum. (Hello, my name is Laura and I procrastinate and am incredibly disorganized.)

    I still love the adventure of letting my daughter browse the shelves to see what she comes up with. She recently wanted a selection of Halloween and Thanksgiving books. And sometimes she wants baby books.
    I live very far away from you, near Vancouver, British Columbia, sio I can’t bring by muffins or flower baskets. But I would be happy to help out looking into library reservations, if you would like. 🙂

  6. Hooray for a “regular mommy” day!

    Those always wore me out, too. 😉

  7. Kim Rourke /

    Thanks for the morning smile! I still remember lots of little girls (and a lone boy) running around a certain Loveland neighborhood bringing those same feelings to their moms.

  8. ECB /

    “Games are made up out of thin air; toys and gadgets are abandoned for dirt and grass stains and imagination. It is so fun to watch them and relive that childhood freedom.” That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Many continued blessings…

  9. Jodi /

    So happy you could enjoy some regular mommy time and hope that soon you will have less and less cancer-to-do’s and more time to be happy tired. My thoughts are still with you every day (even regular mommy days!)

  10. Renee (Angel) Strickland /

    So glad you’re having a mix of “warrior Jen” and “regular mommy” days. It’s so important to still be you. Cancer is only a footnote in your life, and I’m so proud of you for LIVING with cancer, rather than living with CANCER. Just wanted to let you know that the Lebanon Relay for Life is Saturday and I’m proud to be part of a team that has raised more than $11.000 to help find a cure! Keep fighting, your strength inspires me to be a better woman/mother/friend 🙂

  11. sounds great!

  12. Great quote for someone who seems beautiful inside and out!! “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting”. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  13. molly /

    Jen! Yes to swim team! I was in swim team as a five year old (through 13) and it was great. Never too soon to start swimming. Plus it’s so nice when you are little lots of first and second place ribbons because there aren’t a lot of other kids in the category.