The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir
by Katrina Kenison
My Rating: ***** (5 out of 5 stars)
Why Did I Read?
I bought this book at a library book sale several years ago, and it has been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. Whether I purchased it because of the title or because of the cover (yes, I do initially judge books by their covers), I don’t remember. I had never heard of it before, so it wasn’t because of a recommendation. It may have just called out to me, as books often do. So, I bought it, and it sat on my shelf for years. The reason I chose this book to read among all the books on my shelf at home is just as puzzling to me. It just had a way of calling out to me, saying “now is the time to read this.” When that happens, I trust…because those are the books that often have the greatest impact on my life. This one did not disappoint.
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.
What Did I Think/Recommendation
I loved this book! This book must have been calling out to me because I chose to read it at a time in my life where I could really relate with the author. As her teen boys approach the end of their time living at home, she feels a desperate need to spend more time being present with them, holding onto what is left of their time together under one roof, and appreciating every moment of it. My daughters are a few years younger than her boys were when she wrote the book, but I still feel the urgency of savoring those moments, those “gifts of an ordinary day.” I really loved the author’s writing style, and I felt like I was right there with her throughout the entire story, feeling her every emotion.
The author offers so many valuable insights in this book! I recommend that every mom of a teenager read this book. Although I imagine nothing can really prepare us for the inevitable day when our children leave the nest, this book helped to remind me that every stage of life is a gift, and learning to slow down and practice presence and gratitude in each stage will help to ease the transitions.
Find more reviews about this book at Goodreads.
Some of My Favorite Quotes from the Book:
“When we focus on what is good and beautiful in someone, whether or not we think that they ‘deserve’ it, the good and beautiful are strengthened merely by the light of our attention. When we choose to see and appreciate what is good and beautiful in our children, that goodness can’t help but grow, and their beauty blossoms forth.” (p.169)
“The life we have right here, right now, is the best life there is.” (p.209)
“Grace is available for each of us every day — our spiritual daily bread, but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance (p.264)
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” ~Tao Te Ching (p.231)
“The only trust required is to know that when there is one ending there will be another beginning.” ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes (p.197)