Motherhood & Words

I don’t usually spend much time reflecting on the past year as I switch over the calendar. I don’t make resolutions. Last night was the first time in years that I even stayed up until midnight. But even though I did stay up, I was kind of a Scrooge about it. We were watching the Times Square hoopla on TV, and well, I just didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. My sister assured me that I wasn’t always that much of a party pooper. And that must be true, mustn’t it? I used to be fun, didn’t I? But I’m a total party pooper these days; my main concern is getting enough sleep.

2009 was a challenging year, but even as I write that—think it—I know that along with the challenges there was plenty of joy, plenty of laughter in our house. And I love my girls. Zoë is a nut, a stubborn, funny little girl who is talking more and more and who, even though she often pinches Stella and pulls her hair, adores her sister: “Where Dtella? Where Dtella go?” And Stella, my big Stella, is so mature one moment as she tells her younger cousin that what he is about to do isn’t safe. The next moment, she is so much still a little kid as she catapults herself from the bed or whines because the way I looked at her “hurt her feelings.”

2009 also brought a few acceptances and publications with which I’m very pleased, an editorial position I love at the wonderful Literary Mama, serious movement on both of my books. 2009 brought a new job for D. But still, I’m ready for 2010. I’m ready for a new year. And I’d love to be positive today, to embrace all of the hopefulness and possibility of the coming months. But instead of brimming with hope and good cheer, I’ve been crabby all day. It could have something to do with being stuck inside a cabin with bickering kids (my nephew and my own darlings) and the sub-zero weather that makes staying outside for more than a few minutes impossible. It could have to do with the work hanging over my head, the work I wish I could put aside for the week, but that I can’t because I’ve already put it aside too long.

But I don’t want to be crabby on the first day of the new year. It feels like pooping on a clean plate (not that I’ve ever done this, mind you). So I’m ready to shake myself out of it. I’m ready to embrace the chaos. I’m ready to BE POSITIVE!

May you all have a happy and hopeful year full of desires realized and lots of time for writing and reading.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. BLOOM - Parenting Kids With Disabilities on January 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Kate — I hate it when I feel one way, but I'm "supposed" to feel another way. Sometimes it helps to just let yourself feel that way.

    Your cabin sounds cool, but it must be tight quarters if you can't get out.

    I didn't realize you were writing two books — what is your other one about?

    It was great to hear about your girls.

    Hope you have a good weekend!

  2. cath c on January 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    kate, sometimes it is just a day, like any other, but sounds like you want to make better of it.

    it's ok to be human, especially when consistently sleep deprived. (says a pro)

  3. Elizabeth on January 2, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I'm ready, too, and boy was I ever crabby yesterday. Let's move on forward into 2010 and call 2009 thankfully, over!

  4. Sheri on January 2, 2010 at 1:01 am

    i'm crabby today too! cause i'm sick mostly! but also probably cause i think i'm supposed to feel ready to fly into the great wide and brand new open (that i'm not sure really exists). but i'm open. open to new. and ready to move forward. wishing you the best, too, kate!

  5. Caz on January 2, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Hi Kate, I've just started blogging my own Mummy Blog and have been checking out other like minded blogs – and have stumbled here to yours. Love your honest approach to life and motherhood. How I wish more people could keep it real! Yay You!!

  6. Patty on January 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Happy New Year! Why pressure yourself to *not* be crabby if you need to be crabby? It doesn't mean a thing–it is not a reflection of your approach to life, or the coming year,or anything-you know?
    I say, "embrace your inner crab!"

  7. Ines on January 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Dear Kate,
    I am sorry you are not feeling up to it. In this day, I, for one, would like to remind you how grateful I am for 'our' wonderful class. Thank you. May 2010 bring the advance class, if it is possible….but, I think we are allowed to wish aren't we?

  8. Brenda on January 3, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Pooping on a clean plate! Now that's funny! Even when you're grumpy! 😉

  9. Emily on January 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I think you're fabulous. Thanks for writing.

  10. kate hopper on January 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you, all. I've been practicing letting myself feel the way I feel–which I shouldn't have to remind myself to do–and it helps! Thank you!

    To 2010!

  11. meredithwinn on January 7, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    happy new year kate. i'm ready for a fresh start and big dreams for 2010.