May 29

Ahhh.  Summer.

I know there’s the whole equinox thing that happens in mid-June, but, to me, the awesomeness that is summer is defined by the opening and closing of the pool.  On Saturday, I told Maren, “It’s summer!  The pool is open.”

She frowned at me, “No, it’s not summer Mom.”

Me, spluttering, “What?”

“Miss Fun hasn’t changed the season board at school from spring to summer.”  She fixes me with her steady, knowing gaze, “So it’s spring.”  If I have learned anything over the past year, it is that Miss Fun is the authority over these matters.

I debated going into the whole equinox explanation, but decided that should be a job for Chief Sister.  I just reminded her that preschool is done for the year now, and poor Mommy is hot, and canwejustgotothepoolalready?  So we did.  We actually went to the pool Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of opening weekend.  It’s probably the first time that happened since I was eleven or so.  Maren, for the first time ever, picked up where she left off last year.  She can swim from one side of the pool to the other.  It’s not pretty (at all) but she does it.  I am both proud and terrified that I am not her security blanket when she is in the water.

Greta does not know what to make of it.  She’s happy in our bathtub at home, but between the sunscreen, the swimsuit, the rash guard, the hat, and the Coast Guard certified floatie, she is not happy about the pool.  I guess I can’t blame her.  I remember detesting life jackets as a small child.  She will let me hold her on my hip while I stand in the water, but that is about it.  I’m not worried; she’ll be a water baby by August.  Last year, she was usually asleep in the stroller with a battery fan blowing on her; she’s grown so much.

A neighborhood reunion of sorts always takes place at the pool.  Everyone who has been waving from their cars all winter can finally catch up on real life happenings.  I always enjoy seeing kids nine months older and new babies and new families.  We have changed a lot this year; Greta was sheltered in the stroller last season, now she is so interactive.  I look a lot different; this year, I am lighter: I lost a lot of baby weight over the summer.  I lost my distinctive hair; I now wear a big straw hat over a bandana.  I am more often holding Greta instead of splashing with Maren.  To some, the acquaintances, I am probably unrecognizable; on slower pool days, I will re-introduce myself.  I did see several friends and they offered genuine and caring words of encouragement as we talked about my cancer diagnosis.  I admire those friends, the not-close friends, who initiated conversation and brought up cancer to me.  I get that doing so is not easy.  But it does makes connection easier.  Often, I engage first: I blurt, I am awkward.  I’m the bald one, that fact itself is a blunt blurt of it’s own.  So, when others acknowledge the elephant in the room, or the hat in the pool, as it may be, it helps me to feel seen and known and loved.  I’m still me, and connection is more important than ever.

Happy Summer to all!


  1. Happy Summer to you,

    Danette in California

  2. Sue Nitz /

    Hi Jen. I love waking up and reading your blog. It was great seeing you and your family at the pool and meeting your wonderful husband. Life goes on….God is shaping you, molding you and enriching your life through your cancer. You are becoming stronger in a sense and your family is becoming stronger. He has a plan and He has His loving arms around you and He is so proud of you. Much love to you today. I will be praying.

  3. Tara Duncan Homan /

    Thinking and praying for you daily. So thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with you last month and would love a day at the pool with you this summer! Perhaps a day in July – will e-mail you and plan something!

  4. Bonniebj /

    So fun to read your “opening summer”musings. The best part is that I can hear everyone’s voice as you write. Have a wonderful memory making summer Jen…will be praying continually.

  5. Dave Schreier /

    Happy Summer to you. Praying, praying, praying!

  6. It’s all good. 🙂

  7. Cyndi /

    I, too, am “seeing” you, knowing you…and loving YOU!! Happy pool days!!

  8. Happy Summer Jen! Love you.