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The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir Paperback – September 30, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In her second affecting memoir about motherhood and nurturing (after Mitten Strings for God), Kenison, here at middle age with two sons in their teens, pursues with graceful serenity a time of enormous upheaval and transformation in her family's life. As her sons grew out of babyhood and into the new, unknown territory of adolescence, she no longer felt clear about what her life's purpose was supposed to be; their comfortable suburban Boston house of 13 years grew restraining, and Kenison longed for a simpler, more nature-connected lifestyle. Since neither she nor her husband, a publishing executive, was tied to a workplace (indeed, she was suddenly let go as the series editor of The Best American Short Stories after 16 years), they were content to be rootless for over three years, living mostly with Kenison's parents until the building of their new home on bucolic hilltop land purchased in New Hampshire was completed. Meanwhile, Kenison's youngest, Jack, began a new high school, while the older boy, Henry, a musician, applied to colleges, and the family had to adjust both to the move and to the startling, delightful pleasures of country life. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This eloquent book is ...about longing and fulfillment , taking stock of failures and achievements, a search for the elusive "something more" of one's existence-and a reminder that life's seemingly mundane moments are often where we find beauty, grace and transformation.―Family Circle Magazine,
"Kenison writes so beautifully and clearly about what is most important in family life."―Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World and Laura Rider's Masterpiece
An honest, graceful book that every parent will appreciate. In the thick of challenging changes, emotional troughs, and tender realizations the reader will find comfort and guidance. Here is a fine writer, a dedicated mother, and a spiritual seeker speaking intimately to parents in search of wisdom."―Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and Writing in the Sand
How I admire this mid-life mom, who writes with strong contemplative spirit and a heart wide open to change. Her memoir is a courageous and generous contribution to deepening American family life.―Nancy Mellon, author of Body Eloquence
"The Gift of an Ordinary Day is much more than a memoir of motherhood; it is an inspired and inspiring meditation on midlife. What Katrina Kenison gives mothers-her gift-is the promise of reinventing ourselves as our kids grow up and we grow older, and the assurance of an invitingly abundant landscape on the far side of parenthood."―Lisa Garrigues, author of Writing Motherhood
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This memoir shows a family who is transitioning to an empty nest, who has moved to a new home, new town, and is making new friends and finding their way. And most of all, in this book Kenison shares her own fears and worries for her children, something mothers everywhere will be able to relate to. Reading this book may not give me all the answers about how to raise my own children, or how to not lose my patience with their constant bickering, yet I feel like I did get something out of this book, that Kenison's own admissions were helpful to me. That her ability to share her feelings help validate my own.
Kenison has written one other book, Mitten Strings for God that I will be looking for, and I look forward to any of her future work and finding out what she and her family are up to.
That said, as much as I love this author's gorgeous writing, there were many times I doubted the wisdom of uprooting her family while her boys were reasonably settled in a good neighborhood and school system. She was very honest about her reasons for doing so, and admitted upfront that it wasn't an easy decision. But it wasn't a decision I would have made for my family -- at that particular stage in life. (I would have waited until the children were off on their own -- but this isn't my story.) Even so, the family's move to New Hampshire provided the tension this memoir needs, so it nonetheless made for an interesting read. I had to keep turning the pages to find out what happened and how her boys adjusted.
I do think it could have been edited a bit shorter, as other reviewers have indicated, but it was a lovely read and I will gladly recommend it other midlife moms.