Musings + Essays

Making Light Where There Is Little.

By: Jen Shoop

I was steeling myself to take my two sick and exhausted children to a 7:45 p.m. doctor’s appointment on my own — the last slot available that particular day in the pediatrician’s “fever clinic,” which I presume to be a new feature of our COVID-hardened world: keep the ill children separate from the ones seeking routine vaccines and wellness checks. Sane and appropriate, but wildly inconvenient. Not only had we had to struggle through a day caring for unwell children without any diagnosis, but my children are normally in bed by seven and asleep by seven-thirty, and yet there I was, prolonging their feverish day and dreading what was to follow: nasal swabs, the pushback of my four-year-old, my two-year-old’s ambitiously wrangling body exploring every nook and cranny of the examination room while the doctor would, inevitably, be running late given that we had inherited the absolute worst time for a doctor’s visit. (Every parent knows that the later the appointment, the longer the wait.) I am not above admitting I was dreading managing the visit on my own, without the extra hands of my husband.

Around seven, the office called and informed me we could come in early. Out of the blue, just before hanging up, I asked: “Oh, wait — is it still the policy that only one parent is allowed in per visit?” “No, m’am, you can have both now.”

Two unexpected wins, the latter perhaps the best news I’d had in months.

We put on shoes and foisted on masks and flew out the door, and as we walked underneath the scaffolding on 86th Street, I watched my husband pantomime exaggerated surprise when a pigeon flew over his head, sending my four-year-old into hysterics.

Of all the moments,

Of all the years,

I almost burst into tears just then, with my husband’s frame silhouetted against the Manhattan streetlights and my daughter’s surprised laughter jostling her from the slope of malaise.

How spectacular, to walk through life with someone else who not only shoulders life’s burdens but makes light where there is little.


+Writing this post reminded me of the 3 A.M. parties I have enjoyed with my husband at my side.

+We celebrate our eleventh anniversary next month, and I ordered this dress and this one as options for the celebration.

+Lots of ultra-chic Loretta Caponi on sale here.

+Micro is SO into puzzles at the moment — these 12-piece ones are perfect!

+This plaid dress is under $80 and feels very Doen. I like that it could work into fall…

+This $128 floral top is tres chic tucked into a white midi or paired with denim.

+I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but back to school has been on my mind lately. I used this reversible pennant (you can pick the colors!) that say “first day / last day” last year and will continue to use with my children. Love that it does not designate the year so you can use every year from now til college.

+OMG these Carrie Forbes shoes ($200!) are too cute.

+Lululemon makes such good athletic outerwear. So chic! I am loving this new anorak.

+Speaking of Lululemon, just ordered this hot pink look from head to toe: top and shorts.

+A good stacking storage option for toys like Duplos/sets of dinosaurs/cars/etc.

+Adore the print on this two-piece.

+Two super fun patterned skirts: this Mara Hoffman and this Banjanan. I love them with the matching tops!

+This new quilted coverlet from Boll and Branch is simple and chic. Would play nicely with some fun patterned pillows / a dramatic bolster.

+I alternate between hair primer/detanglers, but have really been loving my return to Dry Bar’s Prep Rally lately. It makes my hair feel so smooth and silky when used before the Revlon 1-Step.

+Speaking of hair: “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”

+ICYMI: this $25 blue and white midi dress is SO good.

+This post tugs at my heart: on surviving COVID. It all began with a prayer.

+Great hooded sweatshirt from LL Bean — love the quilting detail. Would size up and throw on for walking the dog on chilly mornings!

+Poupette St. Barth has some fabulous new pareo prints…I almost want to wear this out over my shoulders with white jeans/a white tee.

+Needlepoint key chain with zip code!

+In love with this $70 top.

+CUTE straw bags.

+Super elegant wrapped-ankle sandal.

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6 thoughts on “Making Light Where There Is Little.

  1. Ugh, I felt like I was right there with you and feeling the agonizing worry about sick children (my 3 year old came down with a fever — some kind of 24-hour bug? — not too long ago and it’s so hard to witness their malaise, lack of appetite, etc…). I hope they are ok now!

    Jen, I so love how you capture these seemingly “everyday” moments in a way that highlights what a blessing they truly are. Sounds like it turned a really rough day around!

    PS: if I could weigh in, I vote for the Agua Bendita dress! While it’s hard to go wrong with a white dress, AB’s pieces look so unique and special.

    1. Hi Mia! Oh man, I hate those 24 hour things. I’m always waiting with bated breath and wondering if it’s going to prove to be something more substantial than a brief little bug. So horrible, and I always feel so helpless! Mini’s cold turned into an ear infection and then it turns out she’s allergic to the antibiotic, only the symptoms (hives!) did not present until the final day of her regimen, and so we were SO confused what was going on! Wah! So glad that’s all behind us.

      Anyhow, you didn’t ask about that, but I am still shook by the poor timing of the whole thing I guess. Thanks for the sweet note about focusing on the everyday. You writing that makes me want to drill down into the present moment now and not be so flustered by the boxes and to-dos.


  2. Our life looks very similar lately (the doctor visit stress is on point) and it is so true, having the right partner makes all the difference, especially with kids. This is a very timely and important reminder that I found a good one!

    1. Yes m’am you did! Hi Kyle! 🙂

      Sorry to hear about the doctor’s visits, though. No one told me how stressful those would be as a parent 🙁


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