Little moments

Feb 27

The very best days.

The very best days are when I’m normal.

In lieu of whole big normal days, I’m focusing on the little moments of normalcy and peace and fun and joy and all-of-the-good-things.

I love these past few mornings, where I’ve had enough energy to rise with the girls (or, yesterday, before the girls.  I know.  I was amazing yesterday.)  We have our little routines.  First up, diaper change for Greta.   Obviously.  Next we get dressed, have vitamins while we do hair (vitamins during hair is instrumental in holding still/no whining), and I answer the first fifty-six questions of the day–before we even go downstairs.  I know.  I am amazingly productive; you all know how much mental energy it takes to answer fifty-six questions in seventeen minutes!

We eat breakfast.  She chooses the placemats and the other she chooses who sits where.  We have a combination of healthy fings and not-as-healthy fings.  We have much discussion about health and beauty and strength and energy and kindness and bravery.  We also have much she-took-that and she-hit-me and that’s-mine and where’s-all-of-the-stuff and socks-what-socks?  I answer more questions.

Maren does homework, and Greta does homework.  (And don’t you dare tell Greta that she’s not actually doing homework.)  Maren does art, and Greta does art.  Maren reads, and Greta weads.  Greta is Maren’s shadow.  This is the age where many mommys are tired of hearing “Mommy” from their two-year-old’s lips.  In our house, thankfully, I do not feel like “Mommy” is overdone.  However, “Maren”, pronounced “Mawen”, is by far the most-uttered two-syllables in our home.  Mawen, Mawen, Mawen, Mawen.  Ahhhh, the love of sisters.  Maren, God bless her, handles it with an amazing amount of grace.

I answer the next twenty-seven questions of the day.  I pack Maren’s lunch, and Greta’s bag.  The bus comes for Maren at 9:03, up significantly from 9:07 a month ago, and that four minute difference has upped the chaos level significantly.  But chaos is the nature of life with small children; I’m known to act like a crazy silly person in an effort to make them hurry with out seeming to  make them hurry.  It usually doesn’t work, but the downside is that I act crazy silly instead of frustrated, which is a big win.  Our chaos works for us.

Generally by midmorning, I’m ready for my first nap.  Maren’s off at school, having already completed the first four activities of her day (her teacher is amazing).  Greta’s enroute to her fun destination of the day — she’s being loved by her own army, and I honestly don’t think she’d have it any other way.  On these semi-energetic days, I can be normal amazing during my Mommy windows, but I need the rest of the day recharge and rest up for the next Mommy window.

During the worst days of the slide, I sleep and/or lay around.  My hips hurt not only from chemo/atrophy/bone pain/medicine/side effects, but also from too much time laying down.  Brad saw me laying around this weekend, and shared that he was slightly taken aback at the reality of what this looks like for me: he’s usually so busy keeping all our balls in the air that he doesn’t really experience me experiencing chemo.  I wander around the house, unable to turn off my brain completely.  My brain says: Jen, go tidy the family room.  By the time I get downstairs, my body says: Jen, sit down on the couch.  My brain says: Jen, blog/answer email/write, and then I end up slumped over with a series of unintelligible characters across the screen.  I walked into the play room about fifteen times this weekend with intentions of cleaning it, but couldn’t muster the nine minutes of energy it took to put the toys away until Tuesday.  That’s exhaustion, people.

On the still-tough-but-not-terrible days, I spend time at my desk, I run an errand (or — gasp — two), I put away laundry.  And then it’s back to sitting and laying around and taking naps.  I called Brad from a home improvement store yesterday, and he said, “Whoa, you’re out?!”  My days, they have indeed been outwardly small.  However, there has been lots of molecular healing and cancer-killing going on — so it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything.  And remember, I answer hundreds of questions during the chaotic — but happy — morning routine.

So, while I don’t have the energy to be Normal Fun Mom for whole days, and likely won’t until April, I am very grateful for the windows where I can be Normal Fun Mommy.  I couldn’t do it without Greta’s care team who take on Greta for 8-12 hours a day for me.  I would be a hot mess if I didn’t have the space to rest and allow my body to bounce back as much as possible.

I make the most of our little moments.  Little moments are the ones we remember anyway, right?

Today, I gave Greta her first ever big girl ponytail.

Four years ago, I remember giving Maren her first ever big girl ponytail.  I found the picture.  February 2010.  Exactly four years ago.

One day, I pray we’ll all three sport our ponytails together.  (Even bald, I’m still a ponytail girl at heart.)

**I”ll add the ponytail pictures to this post later–having technical issues, and need to pick up M from Lego Club.**

Little moments in big long days in short weeks in years that go by in a blink.

Little moments matter, and we’re making those happen.  We are so grateful for all our blessings.  Thank you for all of the love.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  –Matthew 25:21


  1. Good to hear an update. Praying for you and Brad and the girls often in VA.

  2. I need to know more about this “silly, goofy, in a hurry” routine, bc I always end up frustrated, running and feeling like, “oh that was awful, why do I let that happen” and how on Earth do people change that… HELP!! Lots of love, hugs and prayers going down your way! Muah! XoXo

  3. Bonnie J /

    You are SO right !!! I think it is the little things that I remember most. You in the lake, coffee dates, etc. Be strong and courageous. … You’re setting the example of a lifetime. Be blessed today Jen ♡♡

  4. Tiffany Green /

    I love how you see the true blessings in simply the little things. We forget how important they are and we shouldn’t take them for granted! Thanks for a great reminder of that today!

  5. Jen, you’re constantly in my thoughts. Now that you have 5 of the 6 rounds of Chemo coursing through your body waging battle with those rogue cancer cells, it’s got to be really tough to garner up enough energy to answer 56 questions in 17 minutes while being awesome mommy! It’s OK to rest now whenever you can fit it in. Don’t even think about cleaning! Save your amazing self for the girls and Brad. You’ll be finishing up this all about the same time Spring arrives. So as all the world is bouncing back to life, so will you. We can’t overlook the connection. It’s meant to be. We’ll all be looking forward to seeing a picture of 3 pony-tailed Andersons a year from now!!! ♥p

  6. Marlayne Skeens /

    Jen, Now I remember why we have children when we are young ~ I am worn out just listening to your morning on a good day & I don’t have cancer ~ It’s Great to be a Grandma ( Mammy is what I am called )You are so right, it is the ” Little ” things that are sooooooo ” Big ” 🙂 It sounds like you have Wonderful Friends that help w/your Girlie Girls 🙂 Bless you & your families/friends :-)Continued Prayers 🙂

  7. Such sweetness is what Ma-wen and Greta will remember.

  8. Annie /

    Yes. Continued prayers.

  9. Jennifer /

    Little moments are absolutely the ones we remember. You inspire me to try and make the little ones matter in my own life. In reading your words I also remember a few of the little, sweet moments that I had tucked away from when I was a little girl and my mom was battling cancer. More prayers and more wishes from my world to yours.