Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The GIft of An Ordinary Day - A Mother's story
To say kids grow up fast is an understatement at best! One minute they are cute little toddlers tugging at your skirts, and the next minute they are big ol’ hulking boys tugging at your purse-strings.
Author Katrina Kenison woke up one day to discover that her two sons were growing up faster than she realized and they would soon be leaving the family nest. Wanting to capture the surging emotions she felt about the changes that were about to take place, she grabbed her pen and began to keep account of what would become an extraordinary time in her family’s life.
“The Gift of an Ordinary Day” is Kenison’s incredibly personal memoir of her family in transition. Her boys were becoming teenagers and wanted to stretch their wings and fly. Kenison’s career in publishing was ending and she and her husband were looking at new direction for their lives, for a more peaceful, less hectic existence. Added to the mix was a stressful move back to Kenison’s childhood home. Life was in upheaval and Kenison was desperately trying to hang on to any similarities of a normal life.
Kenison documents the trials and tribulations of family life through a mother’s eyes. She delights in the fact that her oldest son has adapted well to his new school, but worries for the younger son as he struggles.
“I’ve watched my sons come of age in a world in which they often feel their worth is measured by what they have and by what they do, who they hang out with, how they dress, talk, and perform in classrooms and on athletic fields – external yardsticks that don’t even begin to reflect the inner life of the soul, imagination, curiosity, character and desire.”
As a mother of sons myself, I was interested in what Kenison had to share from her experiences. While she does talk of her sons’ adaptation to their new lives, I found the majority of this memoir was more about Kenison’s anguish over having to live with her parents while searching for a new home, and then her anxiety over the building of that home. I can’t imagine uprooting an entire family for the whims of one child’s desire to attend an alternative high school. I kept wondering if anyone ever asked the younger son if he wanted to leave everything and everyone he’d ever known just because his brother wanted to try something new.
While an interesting read, I wouldn’t recommend “A Gift Of An Ordinary Day” as a guide to how to handle life’s changes as children grow up. Frankly I didn’t agree with how Kenison handled her situation, I myself would have done differently but then again, that’s my opinion.
This book is, however, a fascinating look into one woman’s perspective of parenting and family life and Kenison is to be applauded for her bravery in sharing her experiences.