Corny, mushy, warm and fuzzy, sentimental, sappy, nostalgic, syrupy sweet, and weepy. Yet, I read every word, and soaked it all up.
The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison is a follow-up to the author's earlier memoir, Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry. In the first, Kenison tells us moms to slow down and allow kids to be kids. In The Gift of an Ordinary Day, she shares with us her experiences during her boys' teenage years.
This book is all about change -- house, town, family, school, career, and motherhood. As if one of these changes weren't enough, Kenison's life throws several new curve balls at her. In her forties, and dealing with her own set of mid-life issues, she and her husband decide to sell their house. Not expecting to sell their house before finding a new one, they live with her parents until they can move into their new house. Their new house ends up being an old house in need of serious renovations, or to be more accurate, in need of being torn down and completely rebuilt. She gets laid off just before the plans for the new house are approved. The new house is in a new town, which means new schools, new friends, and new routines. She is trying to keep it together, juggling the logistics of everyday life, all while her older son is preparing to go off to college, and her younger son is settling in to his first year of high school.
More than anything, it is this getting older, by her two boys, that threatens to change her life the most. It is in the midst of this craziness that she is forced to appreciate and treasure the ordinary days.
As life imitating art, I love how she compares rebuilding a house to motherhood:
It seems, in fact, that building a house is a lot like raising a child. It's hard not to get swept up in the frenzy, believing that children ought to look and act and achieve in certain ways and that success and competence must be attained at any cost. I realize I've already wasted months fussing over making the "best" choices when all I really needed to do was make some good choices, accept them without looking back, and move on to the next. It seems to be a lesson I need to learn again and again.
Yes, this memoir is a bit sappy and corny, sometimes too much so, but it was beautifully written and painfully honest.
To listen to an audio clip or to watch a video of the author reading an excerpt, visit the official page at Hachette Book Group
About the Book:
The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Springboard Press (September 7, 2009)
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.