Friday, July 2, 2010

book review

Ah, the bliss of summer reading....

I just finished reading the gift of an ordinary day: a mother's memoir by Katrina Kenison. I picked it up at the library on a whim after finding it on the "New Books" shelf. I certainly did not have time to ponder over my book selection as I had my three boys with me: one was trying to ride the elevator, one was begging me to rent a Wii game, and I don't remember what the third one was doing, but I'm sure there was whining involved. However, when I read "Kenison [a mother of two boys] is not surprised to find that the times she treasures most are the ordinary, unremarkable moments of everyday life, the very moments she once took for granted or rushed right through without noticing at all" on the inside cover of this book, I was intrigued.

While this book is a mother's memoir of the several years leading up to her oldest son's departure for college and her youngest son beginning high school, I found the messages applicable to my life as a mother of three boys 7 and under. Kenison's poetic descriptions of her feelings and experiences through her journey of learning to hold on to what matters while at the same time learning to let go made for a wonderful read. I could picture the dilapidated old house they bought and felt like I knew the unique personalities of each family member and friend she introduced along the way.

I don't know whether I was just reading this book at the right time, but Kenison's message to live simply and intentionally, savoring the ordinariness of everyday moments with your family in the face of inevitable change resonated loud and clear with me. As difficult as I might let myself think life is right now with three young boys, I think this book helped give me some perspective about how quickly this time with them truly goes and how much I need to cherish every single moment, no matter how ordinary [or whiny] it is.

There were so many gems in this book. I dog-eared too many pages ~ sorry, Mr. Librarian ~ wanting to savor the words and their message again, wanting to share them with my husband.

One of my favorite quotes [really, there are a TON] is from page 209:

"It would be so easy to forget to love this life, to just go through the motions, doing what needs to be done, as if it's all going to last forever. But I need only open any one of fifteen dog-eared [see, I'm not the only one....] notebooks, to any page at all, to realize that the past is nothing more than an infinity of moments, all come and gone in the blink of an eye...And I remind myself: The life we have right here, right now, is the best life there is."

This is Kenison's second memoir as a mother. She is also the author of Mitten Strings for God, which is about her life as a mother of young boys ~ it's on my "To Read" List ~ I wish I had read them in order...

I recommend this book to anyone feeling frazzled by life with children. While you may not agree with or understand all the decisions this family made ~ I certainly didn't ~ you can still take away a very important message about life and love and family.

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