May 10


Today was a great day.  I would say I wobbled out of the chemo funk today… apparently a little funk is indeed going to be part of the routine with this drug regimen.  I’m okay with it: I’ll plan to have built-in rest time and will rally for moments that matter.  Let’s keep perspective: this is the routine I want to have for the next forty-six years, remember?

Brad and the girls dazzled me with gifts and made me feel special all day.  Greta got to choose my flowers and she chose the ones that the florist bedazzled with glitter.  Seriously.  Real glitter.  (Why Florist, why?)  As such things go, they were obviously the perfectly authentic Mother’s Day flowers for me.  My favorite gifts were from the girls: they both told Brad what their favorite “Mommy-Kid date place” was, he drove them there, and they ordered and paid for their own gift certificates to present to me today.  You should have heard Greta’s pronunciation of “gift certificate.”  Completely adorable: gift cerdibigut.  (And that’s after a lot of practice with Brad and Maren.)  Greta and I will be going to our favorite local ice cream spot, and Maren and I will be going to our special coffee shop.  Both made it clear that these are to be one-on-one dates, so they really do have it all planned out.  Maren in particular needs dedicated, focused time with me: I love that her soul insists we prioritize such things!

I wore a dress today that a friend pulled off the rack when we met at the mall for lunch.  “You have to have this,” she said.  I pushed back, and said, “No, I don’t buy fancy dresses when I don’t have any place to wear a fancy dress.  I have to have an occasion for a dress like that.”  She insisted and bought it for me.  (She’s ridiculous, I tell you.)  Today I wore the dress and felt glamorous and lovely.  I watched it swish in the wind and I felt like the beautiful mother I am.  I looked the way I feel and, for one of the rare moments in my life, I get fashion.

The afternoon was rather unglamorous: we tackled some yard work.  Did you know my summer job during my college years was working for a landscaping company?  The first summer I was waterer, flower-planter, and shrub placer.  The last summer I moved up such that I pointed to others where to plant what, and then typed up and printed the invoices in the cab of the air-conditioned truck as the crew worked.  Landscaping is a job that brings a certain level of satisfaction because it is transformative and you can see what you’ve accomplished.  (Parenting, by the way, not-so-much like that.)  Brad made it clear that I get a free pass for about six reasons on yard work today, but it was one of those things where my brain and I wanted to be normal.  Weeding and edging, whilst probably not the best choice for me physically (light-headed, shmight-headed), felt good to my mental self.  I fight for normalcy in lots of ways, and digging into the earth channels my young collegiate energy, farmers tan, and memories of working from six in the morning until well past dark.  There’s still a lot of work to be done, but at least I (we) made a small dent today.  I’d sort of like for my dent to have been more transformative, but the vigor of my youth is a memory, the interruptions of my children were many, and the fact that there was no crew to order around meant that I was underwhelmed with what I accomplished.  Unfortunately, such projects have a way of becoming if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie situations: I realized the giant juniper bushes that run the entire length of the front of our home are now dying and worm-infested in addition to being really ugly.  They really should be ripped out and replaced, but that would pretty much mean our whole frontscape would have to be reworked.  Someday, right?  It’s on “the list.”  The question now is, should we even bother mulching?  Oy.  Did I say I liked landscaping?  Nevermind.

Sorry, I just realized I wrote a whole long paragraph about landscaping.  Whoops.  Why do you people read this blog again?

I’m lucky to have legacies of great women — great mothers — in my family.  The richness of their character is my inheritance and I’m blessed to love them.

I’ve developed a squidgey soft spot for motherless women and childless mothers these past few years.  This day, for them, is very squidgey and difficult.  To you: I pray you can find a way to let absence be space for you to step into the light they left.  Honor the light and shine–trust me, its what they would want.

I put this picture on Facebook today because my mom was working and I didn’t get to see her.  When I talked to her, she laughingly pointed out that I’m sitting on her lap because I didn’t want to touch the texture of the sand.  It reminds me of the lunchtime conversation I had with Greta today about how fried rice is a wonderful thing to eat.  One day, Greta will laugh that she wouldn’t even try rice.  Motherhood, right?


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I have a “Best Mom Ever” “cerdibigut” with your name on it!  Ha!



  1. At first I thought that was a picture of you with Maren! But of course, you have the same shade of hair as your older daughter, so it *has* to be your mum.
    Happy Mother’s Day, Jen. <3
    And thank you for that "squidgey soft spot" in your heart. The older I get, the more women I know who need the tenderness and love of those who care.

  2. Ami /

    Oh what a full and happy post after what sounds like a full and happy day! I love that you covered fashion, landscaping, a prayer for motherless children and childless mothers, and debuted a vintage photo that connected three generations of strong women. Who knew that red, sweet fuzzy head who was scared of the sand would be championing others to Do Today Well?

    Seriously, I find is so poetic and ironic that you were scared of texture as a child but you aren’t scared of cancer. I absolutely love that your mind and body are so connected with God that your fight or flight response isn’t wasted on things you can’t control but focused on
    things you can control like food texture and landscaping. Perhaps Greta is freaked out by Rice, because she also will radiate with COURAGE like her highly evolved Momma.

  3. Jen Powers /

    We read this because it is full of hope, beauty, wonder while at the same time being raw, authentic, honest and true to you. You balance joy in the LORD with being open and transparent about the yuck of the chemo funk. You are tenacious and resilient. Love you. Happy Mama’s Day.

  4. Bonnie BJ /

    Think I saw you late yesterday afternoon pushing a wheelbarrow 🙂 a little dirt under ones fingernails is a good thing. . HAPPY Mother’s Day everyday Jen, you do it well and you are so loved !! Praying daily for you as this new protocol continues. ..

  5. Julie Talford /

    Sounds like a perfect mother’s day to me….thinking of you all….

  6. Lindsay l /

    Happy Mother’s Day to a great momma!

  7. I have followed this blog from the beginning as my own mom got diagnosed with cancer. Your writing brought so much comfort and I appreciate how you embrace this unavoidable process with such grace and strength. Please know I keep you and your lovely family in my thoughts and prayers in Boston. Your girls and husband are so lucky to have you as a mom & wife.

  8. Christin /

    I liked the paragraph about landscaping!! Hehe. I also love that the girls got dates with you. What a beautiful idea. A reminder that it’s about time together more than anything. I so love reading your blog EVERY TIME!