Jan 25

I saw the sunrise twice this week.  The first was the morning after the snow day; remember my last blog, where I pontificated about my love of snow days?

I had several friends level me with withering stares (as only good friends can do) after they read that one: snow days are less awesome (and even downright stinky for some families), so sorry if my love of them rubs you the wrong way.  (I do just really love them; I can’t help it.)

The morning after the snow day, Maren came clamboring into my bed before sunrise to say that she did not get to have a snowball fight or make a snow fort the prior day.  Those two things had indeed been her number one wishes the day before, but as our day evolved I figured an epic sledding outing was the same difference.  Not the same thing in the mind of my eight-year-old, however.

She was cheerful enough about it, not whiny or needy or complain-y.  She approached me with an attitude of,  “Bummer, I should have managed my expectations better.”  (Sometimes she is so very eight, and also so very mature at the very same time.)

My thoughts filtered through my brain as follows:

“Oy kid.  I worry that you are spoiled.”

“Hmmm.  This is not a real problem.”

“It’s (very) early.  She totally has time to play in the snow before school.”

“That sounds like fun.”

“I want to be the kind of mom who says yes instead of no.”

“I’m in my cozy bed; I wonder if I text Fun Neighbor Family if her kids will go outside too, and then I could stay in my cozy bed.”

::Commence text to Fun Neighbor Friend::

::Get text reply that Fun Neighbor Kids are still sleeping.::

“Okay, so my choice is clear.  Put on my Super Mom cape, and go in the snow right now, or say no and stay in my cozy bed.”


“It would be inconvenient and cold.”

“But I choose to believe I am Fun Mom.”

As if on cue, Greta bolted into the room and scrambled up on the bed.  Her face is intent–always: she wants to know the daily plan.

“Good morning G!  Maren and I are just talking about what fun it would be to go play in the snow outside before school!  What do you think???”

Both girls’ faces immediately light up and I am so proud of myself for rallying to be Fun Mom.  Their faces make it so worth it; they delight me.  We three bolt out of bed to don our snow gear.  Quickly we bundle into hodge-podge outfits: a giggle-worthy combination of pajamas, long johns, and the fastest-to-put-on items from their closets.  We cram hats on over our bed head and shove our feet into our boots.

Together, we burst out onto the back patio as the sun is tipping from twilight to sunlight.  We drop and make a series of snow angels.  I make them pause while I take a picture: the scene is a brilliantly soft muted winter palette–it feels crisp and perfect and new and free.

The snow is not at all packable, so our snow-throwing is less Snow Ball Fight and more Snow Fluff Fight, which makes us laugh.  Maren in particular keeps giggling over her fluff as she tries to scoop it into her gloves.  I chase them and wing snow fluff at them; I feel moderately guilty that we might be waking up neighbors with our shrieking.  I am out of breath as I run in circles in the yard and I think I want this moment to last forever.  This is the best version of my mama self, right here: setting me aside and cheering them on.

And wouldn’t you know.  Setting myself aside, serving them: it is a brilliant moment in my week.  That full circle of sacrifice to blessing never ceases to get me.  Why do I still often find it so hard to say YES?!

As I sling snow at them, it gets on their face and down their neck warmers, but they handle it with sportsmanship that makes me proud.  I am not raising wimpy girls.

We charge to the garage in get our sled out.  Brad — aka Super Dad — bought it the first winter we lived in this house and brought it home as a surprise.  We tow it over to the hill in the front yard and we all pile on.  Fun Neighbor drives by after taking one of her big kids to school and she takes pictures of our early morning sled run in the front yard.  We beam with delight in each other and with our fun.

We were only out in the snow that morning for thirty minutes, but it was a wonderful part of my week.  As I peeled off my boots and set three pairs of snow accessories out to dry, I considered that diem carped.  Right?  At 7:45am, it had already been a great day.  Dang I’m convicted to choose yes more.


The second sunrise I saw was yesterday; my mom, sisters and I are off for a week in the sunshine together.  We used to regularly go on Spring Break adventures when I was a teenager, and we did a couple of long weekends together before I had kids, but I think this is our first trip of this kind together in a decade.  (And to be clear, we are trip-rich, I get it.  Its one of the cancer-vantages.  We’re choosing to make the best of everything.)

We’re excited.

Baby Sister bought us all matching sandals.  Chief Sister is the Trip Coordinator and I am in pure vacation R&R mode.  Mom’s head is spinning because we only added her to the trip ten days ago and basically insisted that she come too.  And me?  I was surprise-gifted this trip on Christmas morning.  It’s like magic.

I miss my people at home, and am ever-so-grateful to Brad for shoo-ing me off guilt-free and high-fiving me out the door.  He’s commander-in-chief and the village is stepping in to fill in the gaps.  As I kept reassuring Maren before I left, there will always (ALWAYS) be an adult who loves her very much very close to wherever she is.

So this week I’m far from my normal days: the ones I love so dearly and fight so hard for.  Dr. Wonderful topped me up with an extra round of chemo on Friday before I left, so I’m being as medically on-top-of-things as I can be.  I’m making memories of a different kind and making different intentional choices of investment.  My trio at home will no doubt dazzle me with their shenanigans at home while I’m gone.  Dad’s saying when Mom traveled when I was a kid was, “While the cat’s away, the mice will play,” and I remember Mom’s homecoming was always bittersweet because he made it so fun.  Haha!  Brad and the girls will be in cahoots while I’m gone, and I’m looking forward to the stories when we are together again.

With the four of us traveling this week, we will be banking memories.  Cheers!




  1. Praying all the time. Have a great time making memories. 50 years!

  2. Marlayne Skeens /

    Cheers !!!!!! Enjoy Making Memories ~ Hugs :-)<3 🙂

  3. Have a wonderful time with your wonderful sisters and mom! It was a lovely post…you are super fun mom indeed.

  4. Christy /

    Snow angels and snow ball fights before school? You ARE a fun mom! What a beautiful memory. You continue to inspire. Enjoy the warm sunshine this week…

    • Love your snow morning and have a wonderful trip, Jen. Such lovely memories you’re making!

  5. Lisa Smith /

    “I considered that diem carped”
    You kill it Jen. I love you and I love your Mothering stories. You. Kill. It. Thanks again for inspiring greatness. LOVE YOU.

  6. Carp away each diem in its own way.
    I’m glad you say “yes” to your girls and to yourself.

  7. Newbyfriend /

    I’m excited for you girls! You are doing the things we say we should do but never get it around to it. Please tell your Mom that I say hi.

  8. Kim Rourke /

    You are off with sisters AND your mom and speak of shenanigans at home??!! Me thinks there may be more on your end!

  9. I love your heart Jen. You inspire me.

  10. Lisa took the words out of my mouth. The gospel pours out of your life, your words. So grateful for your time in the sunshine with sisters. Love!!!

  11. Michelle /

    One of my favorite posts so far! ?

  12. This is exactly the post I needed to read today. I’ve been following your blog for years, and have rarely commented, but wanted you to know that you are such an inspiration. Your two sunrises sound oh, so sweet. Enjoy you girls’ week with your Mama & Sister.