Right now I am re-reading Katrina Kenison's book The Gift of an Ordinary Day in preparation for her visit to The Book Shelf on Friday. I don't often re-read books because the stack is too high. What started out as a thorough skimming has becoming a full-on read with post-it notes plastering the book because for any parent, there is just a wealth of reflective material.
Katrina and her husband made the choice to uproot their sons as one was entering high school. They were searching for a place where their eldest could thrive and a place where they, as a family, could slow down. This became a three year quest and in the midst of all it, their youngest son makes that heroic transformation of boy to young man. It isn't easy on any of them, and I think what draws me most to this book is the comforting cadence throughout that suggests it will be ok. We all have hair raising moments as parents, or unexpected hilarity, or anger so profound and deep that we can't see past it. When you are in the fire of a struggle with any kid, the last thing you are thinking is that it is going to be ok. Katrina offers assurance and the gift of hindsight that this is true--she and her sons still speak, share laughs and love, and enough ordinary moments to fill the tens of journals that she has kept throughout their lives together. And it is the ordinary that Katrina espouses, the willingness to dig into every day life with your family remaining fully aware that every moment is a gift.
Perhaps the greatest reminder Katrina gives to me is that my job is not to shape my kids into an image that I have, but to coax them toward who they already are...to allow them the freedom to fully explore the gifts they already possess in a way that feels right and true to them.
I am so excited that Katrina is coming to Winona. She resides in New Hampshire and her oldest son graduates from college in St. Olaf this year. I knew he would be performing in his final Christmas concert this year so on a whim, I e-mailed her to ask if she might like to stop by and talk with us about her book and experiences. She said yes! Since my daughter is beginning to round the first bend of puberty, I cannot wait to experience some of her assurance first-hand.
If you are at all curious, check this out-- http://bookshelfwinona.com/. I would love for you to join us.