My loves

Oct 20

On Monday morning when I started my car and drove to my oncology appointment, I saw that my gas tank was full.  I smiled to myself: Brad and I had switched cars for the weekend.  I was off with my sister for hiking and recharging, and he was SuperDad and house project guy at home.  I stopped at the gas station at nine-thirty at night on my way home so that his car would be full when he began his Monday commute.  He, at some point on Sunday, filled up my car for me.  The little kindnesses, the eyes that smile when he looks at me, the tenderness of his touch, the ease, the grace, the little things: these are the things our marriage thrives on.  I swoon.


This morning Greta, wearing her one-piece fleece pajamas with the unicorn hood, climbed into bed with me.

“I don’t feel good,” she said in a croaky voice.  ::Fake sniff::

“Oh really?” I said, as I reached my hand to feel her cool, not-even-remotely-feverish forehead.

::Fake cough.:: “Yes, I just don’t think I can go to school,” she bats her eyes at me in a pitiful way and makes a sad face.

“Hmmmm.  That would be too bad.  Your friends and your teacher will miss you,” I said. “If you are that sick, we better tuck you back into your bed so you can rest and sleep and get better.”

“Is that all I can do?” she says with more coughing and sniffling.  “I don’t think being in bed will make me feel better.”

“Yep.  You can sip ice water, and read books quietly if you can’t sleep,” I told her solemnly.  “If your body is sick, we need to let it heal.”

“What about if I go down to the basement and watch a movie?” she said hopefully.

“Nopity nope,” I said.  “Bed.”

She popped up, “Wait–I think I’m healthy enough for school!  I feel better!”

“Wow!  A miracle healing!  This is your lucky day Greta!”

“Yeah!  I’m going to go get dressed now Mom!” she bursts up out of bed and I hear her closet doors fling open.

“Okay G!” I laughed as I got up and went to find Maren.  Life with Greta is so very wonderful and entertaining.


Maren’s blankie has been missing for a few weeks.  She often tucks into various bags and we knew it wasn’t lost-lost, it was just missing.  Greta had a friend over, and they made a haunted house in her bedroom, so they unearthed every blanket in the house as part of that process.  As luck would have it, Greta also managed to find Maren’s blankie.  This morning, when I went in to snuggle Maren awake, she looked at me with a fake grouchy face as her face peeked around her newfound blankie, “Greta woke me up.”

“That’s what little sisters do,” I said.  “Trust me, I’m an expert in this.  Remember?  I have two little sisters, and you only have one.”

Her eyes widen in mock horror, and she buries her face in her blankie.

Twenty minutes later they are in the kitchen side-by-side working together.  I have an appointment, so I hustle into the room ready to leave the house, but behind schedule to get the girls packed and ready.  I assess the scene, and see that they have finished breakfast, and are now working together to pack lunches.   Maren reaches for the high things, Greta gets an apple out of the fridge and finds the apple cutter and cutting board.

“Oranges or apple sauce?” asks Greta to Maren.

“Apple sauce,” replies Maren.  “Peanut butter crackers or peanut butter sandwich?,” she asks in return.

“Crackers!” says Greta.  “I’ll get desserts!”

Greta loads the lunch boxes, Maren zips them closed.  I eye the clock, and tell Greta it’s time to put her shoes on.  She high-fives Maren, says, “Oh, yeah!” and struts to the front closet.  Maren grins with equal parts amusement, affection, and chagrin, and continues to work on getting her own backpack together.  After Greta’s bus, we check Maren’s grades and she is relieved to see she met her own goals.  Meanwhile, I silently congratulate myself that I remembered my online password for the school report card system.  My ten-year-old has higher standards of excellence than I do on this particular morning.

I kiss them each good-bye and count my blessings one and two.


The wheels are turning.  Paperwork with my name on it is moving from room to room, inbox to inbox, and getting closer to the decision-makers.  The cold language of denials and the automated robo-calls and voicemails of rejection have grated on my heart this week, and –thankfully– my heart is simultaneously soothed by you and your encouragement.   I am hoping, trusting, praying something will work out for me to get this medication in a cost effective manner.  Since my last post a few more people have offered to step in and leverage help and send support my way.  I’m getting messages with helpful questions, good leads, and follow-ups.  It is so, so helpful to my soul, and time will tell if it also helps with approval(s).   Thank you for not letting us do this alone; that would be so much worse.  I will continue to update; the waiting is hard, but it forces me to practice the habits I’ve long formed: do not worry, focus on what I can control, and do today well.

Please remember the hearts and ears of my sweet girls and other sensitive listeners as/if you communicate my story: the girls know I am taking the medications and we hope this is one that works.  That’s all they need to know for now.

Tonight my loves will tumble up the driveway after a long week.  I have what I think is a perfect Friday night after a too-busy week planned: a neighborhood walk, watching a movie from my childhood (The Cutting Edge), munching on popcorn and Honeycrisp apples, and busting out the hot glue gun to make our Halloween headpieces.  This is the stuff childhoods are made of, right?


  1. Praying for y’all.
    I love remembering passwords! ??

  2. I think of you more often than not. Prayers as always that everything will all work out. Lots of love and hugs from us!! XoXoX

  3. Marlayne /

    Dear Sweet Jen ~

    You are a Wonderful Roll Model for your Girls & Everyone’s Heart You Touch ~

    Do Well Today, Yes You Did 🙂

  4. Kelly Burns /

    Always thinking of you, Jen! Your girls sound like such joys. This time of year and Halloween always make me think of all of our fun together while trick-or-treating! Enjoy watching the Cutting Edge with your girls. One of my all time favorite movies. “Toe pick!!” 🙂

  5. Deanna /

    The cutting edge was a favorite of mine! Also really enjoy popcorn and honeycrisp! Sounds like a fabulous night!

  6. KellyE /

    Toe pick!! Haven’t seen it since I was quite a bit younger, but it was a favorite! Hope the movie holds up against time and you have a wonderful family night.

    I’m praying for you, your family and for everyone involved in getting this medication covered!

  7. I’ve been sending good thoughts your way! I hate the way we handle healthcare in this country. Surely there is a way we can make the medicines folks need, regardless of income, status, doctor, insurance, connections, etc., available for all. I don’t know the answers, but my hope is those who do lead the way with compassion and love. Fingers and toes crossed for you, friend.

  8. Thank you for this vignette of your life.

  9. Cindy Mitchell /

    Jen. You are uplifting to so many of us.. Prayers for you cute little girls.. Keep up your positive attitude..