jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

One Year Blog-o-versary, 100 Years

Jen & Co. February 2014

Jen & Co.
February 2014

It’s been a year in the blogosphere since I first began, and I had such high hopes. I wanted to write a one year post with that song 100 Years by Five for Fighting as the focal point. Because I remember ten years ago, racing on the treadmill, both metaphorical and literal, and listening to this song and being 33 for a moment, being seemingly surrounded by pregnant women, desperate to have a babe on the way myself, a family on my mind.

And there I was, an infertile woman in tears on the treadmill, both metaphorical and literal.

So here I am today, on an entirely different treadmill, knocking on 45’s door, the sea is high and I’m chasing the years of my life, and my four children who run away, away.

But this should have been my 100th post. And it’s only my 97th… insert sad face. Because I just ran out of juice. Too much to do, too little time, too much living to be had. Which made me disappointed with myself. 97. 97!

Until I got to thinking, as any good teacher would. 97 is an A. It’s even an A+ in some schools. And do you want to know what another one of my (more embarrassing) goals was? To get 300 followers! So there’s that.

Most of all though, I wanted to capture some stuff, put some things down in pen and ink (or digital bleeps and bits and computer screens.) I wanted to see if I left a footprint in a year’s time. And I did. We all do. Who knew?

Lost tooth.  February 2014

Lost tooth.
February 2014

What I didn’t know I was going to do was figure stuff out. I didn’t know I’d start out overwhelmed by events and parties and shows (oh my), or disliking my seven-year-old son, or crestfallen over a missing tooth (or another missing tooth) but that in writing about these things I’d find my way through to the other side. I’d find the kernel of sadness or resentment at the heart of it all and I’d be able to plant it in words and water it a bit until it became something sturdier and more useful in the light.

Mother's Day  May 2014

Mother’s Day
May 2014

And I knew I’d talk about my kids and motherhood; I named it Mama Art for a reason. But I didn’t know how important my childhood family would turn out to be in all this discovery, not to me or to you, the reader. I hadn’t realized I held my retarded brother and my father in my heart every day liked polished beach stones, infinite treasures, calming me, weighing me down, grounding me, even though they’ve passed from these beaches we walk.

family pic, 1976

Jennie, brother, sister, sister, Butchie

Or that my mother would be there, too, every minute, with her sharper edges, still a voice I talk to weekly on the phone, but also a voice deep in my daily life that rings out, taking, teaching, loving. Or my other siblings, who I hold much more quietly, but who were there through it all.

My mother and Butchie May, 1962

My mother and Butchie
May, 1962

I thought there would be more art, but I think I’m learning that the art and the writing are sort of the same. The idea from the writing becomes the visual thing and vice versa. And that the visual art part takes a bit more out of me, actually.

And I really didn’t expect that this would be a two way street. That I would write and you would read. And sometimes, if I was lucky, you would comment, and I would comment back. I really didn’t know I’d find sisters from other misters (and misters from other sisters) out there in the world, or that people in my own backyard or from the parking lot at pre-school would connect through these stories written in bits and bytes, that they’ve probably already heard during walks or runs along the marshes.

Walking with friends  March 2014

Walking with friends
March 2014

I didn’t know what this would mean, writing it all down and putting it out there. And I’m not sure how this will continue. Maybe 100 is a bit much for all of us going forward. But I do know that I’m so very glad I did. And I’m glad you all came along.

Take us out, Five For Fighting:

Half time goes by

Suddenly you’re wise

Another blink of an eye

67 is gone

The sun is getting high

We’re moving on…

15 there’s still time for you

Time to buy and time to choose

Hey 15, there’s never a wish better than this

When you’ve only got a hundred years to live


22 comments on “One Year Blog-o-versary, 100 Years

  1. Burns the Fire
    October 1, 2014

    Happy blogoversary to one of my fave blogger/artists and newfound friend. I’m so happy you are here.

    • jgroeber
      October 1, 2014

      I’m so happy we found one another! And I’m happy you are here, too.

  2. kellylmckenzie
    October 1, 2014

    100 years playing as I write this. Love this song so much. Congratulations on getting a year under your belt! I smiled when I read your comment that 97 is an A. Indeed it is. And I am so glad that we have connected here.

    • jgroeber
      October 1, 2014

      Yes, you are another one of those lovely gifts found during this wonderful first year in the blogosphere. So glad we met. And thank you always for your support and thoughtful words. (And the giggles at your antics, especially with your amazing Mama.)

  3. Margie Sweeney
    October 1, 2014

    Wow, 97 stunning entries! Congratulations! To think you did all this in one year, amazing. Your beautiful words, images and honesty are truly worthy of that song:)

    • jgroeber
      October 1, 2014

      Thank you for that and for reading and always for your comments. Even during some of the quieter blog moments your gentle words always helped me feel a part of something.

  4. Matt
    October 2, 2014

    I appreciate so much what you’ve done here, Jennifer.

    Weaving the past and the present. Writing almost lyrically. Making me nod: “Yeah, I get it.”

    We’re so different, you and I. Worlds. Upbringing. Family life. Gender. Just different.

    And yet, not so different. Craving growth. Searching for meaning. Sharing the findings, and feeling grateful and humble that people choose to be part of the journey.

    You have a unique ability to capture life’s simple, quiet moments and shine the spotlight on them so we can see them for what they are.

    The things that really matter.

    Thank you for the opportunity to be part of it. Here’s to 97 more.

    • jgroeber
      October 4, 2014

      Aw, thanks, Matt. What a lovely thing to write. I love that I’ve gotten the chance to “meet” so many amazing blogger-writers out there in the grand universe, like you. It’s been pretty wonderful realizing that as different as we all are, that it’s the similarities that hold us all together.

  5. Home That We Built
    October 2, 2014

    Happy 1 year! Glad you started it, and appreciate that you are still doing it.

    • jgroeber
      October 5, 2014

      Oh, thank you. A compliment from such a busy blogger is doubly appreciated!

  6. Heidi
    October 5, 2014

    Congratulations, my dear friend. I had a goal of reading all of your posts. I probably got more of a C+. However, reading your blog inspires me to be a better Mama, sister, and daughter which is good at any grade. Thank you.

    • jgroeber
      October 5, 2014

      You always get an A from me, my dear. You inspire me as well!

  7. Steph Kasten
    October 5, 2014

    Congratulations, Jen! Je t’aime, et j’adore tes histoires 🙂

    • jgroeber
      October 5, 2014

      Merci, ma douce. Je m’ennuie de partager des histories sur le vin. (Google told me to write this. Hope I didn’t say anything offensive about our adorable husbands or anything…) 🙂

  8. Maryann
    October 7, 2014

    I have my own milestone to announce: I finally got through one of your posts without tearing up, entirely because I was so delighted to read about all you have achieved with this project in just one year’s time. Congratulations. Keep up the kind, beautiful, insightful work, Mama Jen.

    • jgroeber
      October 11, 2014

      Yay! You know you inspire me with all you do, all the lives you touch. You brought a tear to this Mama’s eye. Thank you.

  9. talesfromthemotherland
    October 7, 2014

    I want to kick myself for not seeing this sooner… too much travel this year. (I know, first world problems, waaagh!) But, I would have had a cake or something. Music. Balloons! You deserve it all, Jen! Your blog is one of the most beautiful things I read, each and every time. Look how many followers you have! I was NO where near that number at one year!! Seriously. I only had 500 well into my 2nd year. So smile big. You touch a lot of your readers. Your writing IS art. I love that I’ve gotten to know you, and that you are out there… Mazel darlin’! What an amazing year you’ve shared with us!!

    • jgroeber
      October 11, 2014

      Ah, what a celebratory confetti and cake comment. Thank you! You were one of the first I found and followed who followed back and I’m so glad. Your comments mean so much, especially knowing what a busy Mama and hard-working writer you are. Here’s to a happy, healthy, prolific blog-year for the both of us. Cheers!

  10. Jenn Berney
    October 11, 2014

    Happy bog-o-versary! 97 is amazing. It’s even a prime number. Glad to have found you!

    • jgroeber
      October 11, 2014

      Oh, a prime number!! Brilliant!!
      I’m glad to have found you, too. And thank you.

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