The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir

The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir

3.5 124
by Katrina Kenison
     
 

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The Gift of an Ordinary Day is an intimate memoir of a family in transition-boys becoming teenagers, careers ending and new ones opening up, an attempt to find a deeper sense of place, and a slower pace, in a small New England town. It is a story of mid-life longings and discoveries, of lessons learned in the search for home and a new sense of purpose, andSee more details below

Overview

The Gift of an Ordinary Day is an intimate memoir of a family in transition-boys becoming teenagers, careers ending and new ones opening up, an attempt to find a deeper sense of place, and a slower pace, in a small New England town. It is a story of mid-life longings and discoveries, of lessons learned in the search for home and a new sense of purpose, and the bittersweet intensity of life with teenagers--holding on, letting go.

Poised on the threshold between family life as she's always known it and her older son's departure for college, Kenison is surprised to find that the times she treasures most are the ordinary, unremarkable moments of everyday life, the very moments that she once took for granted, or rushed right through without noticing at all.

The relationships, hopes, and dreams that Kenison illuminates will touch women's hearts, and her words will inspire mothers everywhere as they try to make peace with the inevitable changes in store.

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Kirkus Reviews
From the author of Mitten Strings for God (2000), another gentle reminder to mothers to slow down and savor the joys of the quotidian. For Kenison, ordinary days were in somewhat short supply in the period covered by this memoir. She decided that her suburban Massachusetts community was too high-pressure and competitive, and that her family would be better off in a more leisurely rural setting. Before finding a new home, the Kenisons sold theirs and moved into her parents' home along with their two adolescent sons. The house they found in New Hampshire was a run-down, 200-year-old summer cottage. After camping out in it for one idyllic summer, they tore it down and designed and built a new, larger house. While constructing a house is a process normally fraught with tension, the Kenisons' experience was aggravated by the fact that she unexpectedly lost the job she had held for 16 years, as series editor of The Best American Short Stories. Eventually the new house was, if not completed, at least in move-in condition. As they settled in, the author's older son, Henry, was in his final year of high school, and anxiety about college admission replaced construction concerns, at least for the author. Kenison, who writes of the necessity of letting go of one's children, apparently had a hard time actually doing it, and the space devoted to Henry's struggles and accomplishments seems disproportionate to the rest of the text. Meanwhile, her younger son was going through an exasperating teenage rebellion. "I am constantly reminded of just how high adolescents highs can be on any given day and just how low the lows," she writes. "What I love most, though, are the rare and deliciously peacefulplateaus in between."Kenison's wise comments on what she calls "the humble business of life" are often a pleasure to read. With repetition, however, the sweetness quotient becomes cloying. Agent: Mary Evans/Mary Evans Literary Agency
Jane Hamilton
Kenison writes so beautifully and clearly about what is most important in family life.
author of A Map of the World and Laura Rider's Masterpiece
Beth Kephart
With an honesty and intimacy rarely achieved in modern memoir, Katrina Kenison dissolves yearning into its complex, sensate parts. This is a book about mid-life want and loss. It is also a most knowing book about a most gracious love-about the gifts that are returned to those who find beauty where it falls.
author, House of Dance
Family Circle Magazine
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.
Thomas Moore
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.
author of Care of the Soul and Writing in the Sand
Nancy Mellon
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.
author of Body Eloquence
Lisa Garrigues
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.
author of Writing Motherhood
From the Publisher
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

Family Circle magazine
This eloquent book is subtitled "A Mother's Memoir," but that's not giving Kenison's chronicle of her sons' increasing independence its full due. It's also 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.
Jane Hamilton - author of A Map of the World and Laura Rider's Masterpiece
"Kenison writes so beautifully and clearly about what is most important in family life."
Beth Kephart - House of Dance author
"With an honesty and intimacy rarely achieved in modern memoir, Katrina Kenison dissolves yearning into its complex, sensate parts. This is a book about mid-life want and loss. It is also a most knowing book about a most gracious love-about the gifts that are returned to those who find beauty where it falls."

Thomas Moore - author of Care of the Soul and Writing in the Sand
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."
Nancy Mellon - author of Body Eloquence
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.
Lisa Garrigues - author of Writing Motherhood
"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."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446558099
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
09/07/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
150,023
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Beth Kephart
With an honesty and intimacy rarely achieved in modern memoir, Katrina Kenison dissolves yearning into its complex, sensate parts. This is a book about mid-life want and loss. It is also a most knowing book about a most gracious love-about the gifts that are returned to those who find beauty where it falls.

author, House of Dance

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