Mom’s breakfast

Feb 11

Today was the Mom’s Breakfast at Maren’s elementary school.  Half of the alphabet went yesterday, and half today: 350 moms and students gathered in the school cafetorium for a breakfast this morning.

Maren has been so excited about this.  (So has Greta!)  It’s so fun for our roles to reverse and for her to be the leader to show me something new.

We got there early.  We had the choice of seats and sat at the purple table (Greta’s choice) on the side where we could best see the screen for the video (Maren’s choice).

As we walked towards the food line, I saw a young mama wearing a really nice head scarf with her sweatshirt and jeans; I flash-backed that for last year’s Mom’s Thing at Maren’s school, I wore a pink knit hat to cover my (cold) bald head, and Maren was wiggley-excited for me to be at her school then, too.  This time last year I was chemo-bald, and I know the look.  I desperately wanted to walk up to this mama and give her a fierce hug and tell her I’ve-been-there-too.  You. Are. Not. Alone.  I see you, Bald Mama, I see you rocking Mom’s Breakfast and prioritizing your moment with your kiddo instead of your self-conscious bald head and (probably) sicky chemo symptoms.  I’m proud of you Bald Mama.  Rock on.

I didn’t do that because Bald Mama and I were both there for our kids.  Being a mama is my first priority, and I have to protect that.  If I participated in every breast cancer event/rally/fundraiser, I would miss out on what matters most.  If I had a moment-that-mattered with Bald Mama, I would have missed on a moment-that-mattered with M and G.   I hope I run into Bald Mama again, so that I can actually high-five her; for now I send a high-five into the universe and hope she catches it as she goes about her day today.

The school has a tradition of filming each student at the school saying, “I love my Mom because … “, and then they play the video during the event.  So, we watched a thirty-eight minute video while the hundreds of students cycled through.  There were moments of giggles, lots of ‘awwwwws’, and I got to watch it all with one arm around Maren and the other around Greta.  Greta had animated commentary through a lot of it, and Maren would nudge me in the ribs each time there was something that she wanted to particularly share with me.  Halfway through, I asked Maren if she knew anyone at her school who didn’t have a mom; she shrugged and shook her head.  Two-thirds through a little girl said, “I love my aunt because (I forget what she said).”  Maren nudged me, and I squeezed her, and we both focused on the rest of the video. I consciously turned off that section of my brain: the worrier, the what-if, the if-I-think-about-this-I-will-cry.  I said a prayer of gratitude for that little girl and her aunt, and for my full arms in this present moment.

It’s a choice, a decision, a commitment I’ve made for myself and my loves: I focus on gratitude and surrounding myself with joy.  Every moment, every day.

Maren’s segment came and she said, “I love my mom because she cares about me.”  When she came on-screen I see that it was taken the day that Maren chose her own hairstyle, one that she loved on the day, but one that — now that it is recorded forever — she will say when she’s grown, “Why did you let me go to school like that?”  I love the imperfection and the perfection of the whole thing.

There are so many “Mom’s Breakfast” events that we scroll through; my perspective is a blessing as it allows me to soak it in and experience it to the fullest.  I know my girls had the best morning this morning.  I know they felt loved and special and awesome.

It’s not about the flash-backs or the flash-forwards: it’s about doing today well.


  1. Lisa Farrell /

    Precious moments. You have your priorities in the right place. XOXO Lisa

    • Melody Smith /

      Amen Jen – thanks for sharing this awesome story with us 🙂

  2. I am sure the mom you bumped into wanted for that moment to do just as you did – be a normal mom. Hardest thing about being chemo bald mom.

  3. Emily Smith /

    Jen, thanks for sharing. What a beautiful blog entry. I love how you have it right and you are sharing what you cling to. I just wrote in my planner for tomorrow: Focus on Gratitude and Joy. Thanks for that little nugget. I needed it today:)

  4. Priorities and choices… you’ve got yours in the right order. <3

  5. Blest to know three generations of AMAZING Mathie women who are there for each other…

  6. Precious memory for sure! Love the idea of having the breakfast & video. What a treasure for all of you! ♥p

  7. Love this! <3

  8. Lisa Smith /