When they point their love at each other…

Mar 20

We buzzed down the road on the way to the tournament.  I have my day bag and my stadium chair slung in next to me.  She packed herself with all of the eclectic things one brings to an all day sporting event as the athlete; I didn’t even check her bags.  I marvel, for the seventeenth time this week, at her maturity, grace, and intellect.  “What is your favorite song?” I asked Maren, picking up on a conversation from the day before.

It’s so random, the things we don’t know about the people about whom we know everything.

She gives a long pause and then a giggle before answering, “It’s kind of a funny answer, and I don’t really know if it counts, but my favorite song is really anything that Greta is singing.”

Laughter bursts from me in solidarity and surprise, “Really?!”

“Yes,” she explains with her customary seriousness, “She is always singing in her room, or the car, or the bathroom, or whatever.”  It’s true.  Greta does that.  A lot. “And her songs are funny, usually, if she makes them up.  And she’s such a performer, even when no one is listening.  Or when she thinks no one is listening.”  She pauses again and I hear the smile in her voice, “It just makes me smile whenever I hear her, so she’s my favorite song.”

I grin thinking of all of the music that swirls in this girl’s head.  She plays piano, we listen to music often, she sings along to soundtracks of our favorite movies, and we almost always dance in the kitchen when we cook together.  “Sweetheart,” I said, “That is the best answer to that question I have ever heard or ever will hear.  You have such a true heart.  Please tell Greta so she can hear that compliment from you — it will probably make her sing more!”

We laughed together, knowing my statement is true.  What love between sisters is this?  It’s so very Maren.  Deep and measured and thoughtful and brilliant and insightful and extracting the richest marrow out of a question, a moment, an observation.  That’s my girl.


Later in the day, Greta sprints along the sideline with her own self-packed tournament bag in tow.  She is part of the herd of little siblings on days like these, but please no one tell them they are playing a supporting role.  She and her compatriots liken it to an all day playdate party, and none of we parents think this could have worked out any better for us.  Her outfit is a collision of passion and pattern: purple undershirt, green overshirt, and black pants (team colors are black, purple and green).  She has a gigantic sequined green bow from yesterday’s St. Patricks Day charity run that lasts only until she realizes that it yanks her hair when she jumps to cheer, and she removes it because obviously jumping is more important than accessories.

She has come packed with some Greta creations, as is typical.  Her medium for crafting is whatever is at hand from her room or the recycling bin, or whatever she sneaks from my kitchen cupboards without too much parental wrath.  Some stolen supplies: tinfoil, bamboo skewers, bendy straws, and tape — tape is her love language — are worth a little wrath for this arty girl.  For the tournament she has two handcrafted flags to cheer on her big sister.  I never give Greta project ideas or inspiration; she is entirely self-motivated.  In fact, ideas from me are more likely to be discarded or improved upon to the point that they are no longer recognizable.   Today’s treasured flags are made from paper torn from a notebook and cleverly (mis)spelled “CVA Voley Ball”, “Go Maren!”, “Bump! Set! Spik!”, “I love you! Love, Greta”.  The flags are taped — with lots of tape — to bendy straws and she jumps and cheers with great enthusiasm, made greater by her self-made props, made greater by her big grin, made greater still by her unquenchable spirit.  And then she’s back playing with the pack of little sibs, imagining and creating and talking and laughing.

Such love as she cheers on her sister.  It’s so very Greta.  Big and loud to the point that it brings a percussive echo to everyone around her and she sits in the middle of it all unaware that she modifies the tempo around her into a rhythm worthy of dance.  That’s my girl.


  1. Kim Rourke /

    Jen, you are growing our future, and it looks beautiful already. Love these vignettes of your life!

  2. Marlayne Skeens /

    Jen ~
    Your girls are ruling Their World with Love & bringing Smiles to everyone along the way❣️Hugs ?

  3. Carli /

    Love everything about this. Give those girls a big hug from me 🙂

  4. Lauri /

    Reading this over my morning coffee made me smile! Maren and Greta are such sweet girls… ?

  5. Kathi /

    Thus makes me smile. And think of my four girls at that age. Thanks for my walk down memory lane ?

  6. annie /

    It seems like people have been missing you (!) and are happy to have you back. 🙂 It also looks like you’ve been doing all of the things that you are so good at; what wonderful ways to herald in the spring. Thanks for sharing.

    I continue to pray for you and your family. Living alongside cancer is a hard job–hope and love and worry all wrapped up in every single day. It can wring it out of a person. God’s peace is a miracle, too, and gives you respite as you heal. You do today pretty well.

  7. Sweet! May it always be so. Love, Kay

  8. Aunt Annie /

    Thank you for sharing those sweet, incredible moments!

  9. Kelle B /

    Beautifully written. Your words have a way of burrowing into my heart to reveal the precious memory-gems intertwined in my little people’s seemingly mundane actions. I’ve referenced your beautiful writings many times while attempting to describe my quest to find joy right where I am. Thank you, Jen for your fresh mommy-perspective and for using your gift of writing to spread joy.

  10. Melissa /

    Hi Jen, you don’t know me, but I have been following your blog for a while. I cannot even remember how I was introduced. I think it’s weird of me to follow someone I have never met and will probably never have the pleasure of meeting. I promise I am not a stalker! I just can’t stop myself, or tear myself away from your journey, like a favorite character in a fantastic book, I am so invested in your days of doing well and your continued blessings of more time. I am rooting for you and your family.

    I have been witness to so much cancer lately not with myself, but with coworkers and dear friends and children of friends. I find myself referencing your website as a source of hope, faith, strength, and perspective. I just admire your persistence and you inspire me to do
    What I can to provide comfort or aid to those that are burdened with the effects of chemo.

    I am writing today because of your post. I too have a musical 8 yr old daughter who loves to sing everything. I laughed out loud at Maren’s sweet kind response to her favorite song. My 2 older sons are constantly asking her to stop singing, while I actually find myself humming along.

    Thank you for your posts, I pray for more time for you, despite being a stranger. I know you are one who truly deserves it.

    Kindly, melissa from Maine

  11. I absolutely love this! You write so well and your girls are such gifts! They won the lottery with you though. Love and prayers from a random reader,