I’ve just read this book, THE GIFT OF AN ORDINARY DAY, by Katrina Kenison, and it’s a heartbreaker. It’s all about the season when you can only look back on “When you were little and I was young” because it’s no longer true. When your little boys have been replaced by little men, and they’re stretching and struggling away from you as they move from one stage to the other. And a couple times I almost put it down because I couldn’t handle the heartache. Most of the time, though, I just enjoyed seeing my own thoughts and passions reflected on the page – the noticing of clean sheets and fall leaves, the comfort in tennis shoes that clomp inside the house and the head of a boy on your shoulder while you read.
I noticed something else while I was reading this book. I think blogs have changed my reading skills. The author is so beautifully descriptive in this book about her rustic cabin and cozy bit of land in the country and then her new home. And I quickly realized I wanted pictures. A blog post like her first chapter would have included black and white photos of her little boys with lollipop stuck to their face. The chapters on the little red house would have shown me what it looked like from the hill when it first called to her. I couldn’t figure out if I’ve lost the ability to use my imagination or if her descriptions were simply so vivid that I wanted to see and taste and touch them for myself. I still don’t know.
Part of me wondered why her quiet memoir has made it out into the world while my quiet memoir sits still, waiting its turn. But I didn’t exactly care. It was impossible to feel envy or anxiety about the pursuit of things when she so beautifully pointed to the gift of ordinary.
I crave change sometimes. A new highway is almost complete that will bypass our little town, so we’ll soon have to exit in order to arrive at our home. And I love the new curving hill we have to take, because I like that things can change. I like the newness of it, the broken earth around it, and the grass that needs to grow. It’s weird to think I’m raising children who will be drivers that don’t know that highway any other way. I like to change my toothpaste, my lip gloss, my winter coat. In complete rebellion to the frugality of meal-planning, I hate to know exactly what I’ll have for supper next Tuesday. And with that craving for change, sometimes I worry that I take for granted the ordinary. It was nice to see all that ordinary of living and cleaning and planning and being together – neatly tucked into its proper perspective as the beautiful gift that it is.
Find the book on Amazon: The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir