jen groeber: mama art

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

How You Measure Half a Life

me and the kids silhouetted on a floating dock at sunset

Taking a chance
July 2015

It happened. The kind people at Mamalode published my essay on their August theme Optimism, How You Measure Half a Life. And ironically, it’s a meditation on whether there is enough time left in our collective lives to dream big dreams, take a chance, try something new.

Please take a moment, head on over and give me some love. And if enough people visit, I may get enough money for a medium-priced bottle of wine, so have your Mom visit, too, or your best friend, your reading group, your dog. Whatever.

I’ll be checking comments there and I’d love to hear what you think. It’s Mama’s first big foray into the great big blogosphere and it would be amazing to see a familiar face or two, or to hear from people I haven’t heard from in awhile. It’s that kinda day.

See you at Mamalode. And thanks in advance. Cheers.



26 comments on “How You Measure Half a Life

  1. kellyinrepeat
    August 8, 2015

    Hooray! Such a beautiful post and now it is sure to reach so many more . Warm ️Congrats! K

    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      Thank you so much. It’s wild to be out there. It’s like a teeny, tiny art opening.

  2. bumbismom
    August 8, 2015

    Congrats. I just read it- wow! Beautiful.

    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      Thank you so much for heading of there and checking it out!

  3. laineyloveslife
    August 9, 2015

    Congrats Jen! I’ll go check it out!

  4. Kemi Falodun
    August 9, 2015

    I really like this part:

    “There is time for us all then. Time to be amazing young women, time to discover, time to take chances, to write, to make art, fall in love, fall out of love, time to mother, care for someone else, find a new career, make a difference, make a mark. It is not over. It is never over.”

    I’m 22, and now I wonder what my next 22 years will be like. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow but we still hope as though we are sure…

    I enjoyed every bit of this piece. Thank you for sharing and introducing me to Marina Keegan. I just read “The Opposite of Loneliness.”

    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      Such a great book. That Marina Keegan touched so many lives in just 22 years. If I were to do some time traveling I’d sneak back to 22-year-old me and tell her to be bold, be courageous, don’t take no for an answer. Since it’s unlikely I’ll manage that, let’s you and I agree to be bold and courageous for however many years we have.
      Thanks so much for commenting.

  5. Stacy di Anna
    August 10, 2015

    Congrats! I just read and commented over there too. What a beautiful and touching piece of writing. Great read to start the week!

    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. your comment just made my day, so there.

  6. drawandshoot
    August 10, 2015

    A beautiful essay, Jen!
    Congratulations on your first ‘official’ publication (outside of this treasure-trove of a blog). I’m celebrating with a maple latte (it’s early..), cheers!

    Each essay you share is a gorgeous meditation.


    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      Ah, thank you for that. And I just love me some maple, so it’s an appropriate beverage to be sure. As for your kind words, right back at you. Your photos are just transcendent, their own gorgeous meditations.

  7. Anna Spanos
    August 13, 2015

    What a beautiful piece, congratulations on being able to share it with a wider public!

    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      So good to see you around the blogosphere again, lovely mama. And thank you.

  8. Yashna
    August 15, 2015

    It’s lovely 🙂

  9. Jennifer Berney
    August 26, 2015

    I’m so happy to see your byline touring the web! Enjoy that medium-sized bottle of wine–cheers!

    • jgroeber
      August 28, 2015

      Ha! Yes, just a medium-sized bottle, I fear. But in time, who knows? My writing might buy me a lunch, or a small dinner at a reasonably-priced eatery. Perchance to dream…

  10. dougstuber
    January 2, 2016

    I can relate. At 57 my son is 10, like you I have taken some solace in the life of Sally Mann, and often. Wonder whether continuing to paint and write is an accomplishment or self indulgence. I won’t stop, but had to tell you that I had the luck of hanging out with Sally in Lexington Va and Roanoke at Hollins. She mastered antique methods of printing on glass and had vision real vision of what was interesting and her gift led to a rare celebrity in the world of photography. Any creative field is brutal unless the artist, dancer, actress, writer is appealing as a person AND. creator. I put up just about everything I write or paint, alas, I gave yet to figure out how to translate a tormented life into work people enjoy

    • jgroeber
      January 4, 2016

      Love this comment (and those paintings are gorgeous- enamel on panel? They look like a very modern and lush take on Abstract Expressionism to be sure…)
      I was just listening to a recent TedTalks podcast (I think it may have been a replay) on Beauty. And they talked about the “perfect painting” which was a landscape with a tree and a water source and so on. It sounded a tiny bit horrible (although I do secretly love me some Wolf Kahn, but still…) But it did get me thinking about how much people would rather surround themselves with beauty than any of the kooky ways of looking at life that roll around in my head on any given day.
      But I don’t think it’s self-indulgent to figure out a means of expression and to devote a piece of ourselves to it, especially if we can balance it with the time we spend with our kid(s). Teaching them that it’s okay to work things out on paper, or in bits and bytes, or in enamel on panel has got to be giving them a way to cope/celebrate/mourn/process that will be invaluable in their lives. (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.)
      And I can’t believe you met Sally Mann. Amazing.
      Thank you for commenting.

What? I'm totally listening. Tell me. No, really, tell me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on August 8, 2015 by in Surviving Motherhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,316 other subscribers
Follow jen groeber: mama art on
%d bloggers like this: