Motherhood & Words

I’ve been quiet here lately, and I’m sorry about that. Life is extremely full right now. (And for some reason—barometric pressure?—I’ve been so exhausted that I haven’t been able to get myself out of bed when my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. (I reset it or snooze it forever, which I’m sure is incredibly annoying for D, though he hasn’t said so.)

But even though I’m very tired and have a little too much on my plate these days, things are good, and I’ve been trying to remember that and be grateful for it each day. The girls are at ages where they are changing so quickly. Stella is eight and a half now (how is that possible?), and she seems so mature. She’s always full of details about the chicks that are hatching in her classroom or the ceramic pot she’s making in art class.  And you should see her hold her new twin cousins. She would sit for hours with one of them in her arms, not moving, just staring down at her little face. Zoë is four and is full of spunk and sass. She has officially moved out of her pajama pants phase (during which she wore only pajama pants), and now she is in a skirt and tights phase. (Unfortunately, she likes to wear the same skirt every day and all of her tights have holes in them. Ah well.) When I left the house this morning, both girls were both working away in their “offices.” Stella was designing buildings (we asked her to add an additional bedroom, bathroom, and finished basement to our house, and voilà, it was done), and Zoë was approving the work (as some kind of inspector).

Even on those mornings when we wake up too late and are rushed and crabby or those evenings when the girls are hungry and whining and needling each other, I am grateful for them.  I recently had lunch with my friend whose son died in January, and she said, “We can never cherish them enough.” I try to remember that every day, remember Benjamin every day, and remember to be grateful, to cherish what I have.

One thing that helps me do that is Aguita, sweet Aguita. I think I mentioned in December that we were NOT in the market for a dog, but now we can’t imagine our family without her. Our early morning walks set the tone for my day—I love to walk with her out into the crisp air, damp with recent rain, full of the waking calls of birds, the sky above me a pale blue. Aguita drags me down the block, and I take deep breaths, thankful for my family, for Spring, and for my book.

The book. The book is now available online and in some bookstores, even though it’s not yet officially OUT. But I’m starting to hear from readers, and it’s amazing. It’s nerve wracking, certainly, and I have much to do in the next few weeks, but still, the book is out there—a fact that, at points in my writing life, seemed unlikely to ever happen.

So I’m taking deep breaths and cherishing what I have. What are the things for which you’re grateful these days?

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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. kristen on April 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Kate, so good to hear your news. You’ve been missed. xxk

    • Kate on April 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Thank you, Kristen! I’m sorry I’ve been so absent on your blog, as well!

  2. Marilyn Bousquin on April 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I am grateful that I have you, Kate, and that you wrote your book and that you taught me Mother Words and that you wrote this beautiful blog. I am so very grateful to you for shining your own light in this world, for sharing Small Continents with me, for being always true. I have learned from you that it is okay (even great!) to just be who I am. Sending love and hugs, M

    • Kate on April 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Thank you, dear Marilyn!! I feel so grateful to know you and your wonderful writing! And I can’t imagine you as anyone but your wonderful self!!

  3. Chris on April 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Kate, am so appreciating Use Your Words! Starting Chapter 8 tonight…

    I squeeze in writing around the edges of my “real job” and life with four sons because I have to – I get all tied up in knots when I can’t think things out across a page and more keenly so since children have entered my life. Your blog (and now your book) is a great source of support, advice and motivation when I wonder whether the writing about me and them and us is truly worthwhile.

    Thank you – and best wishes as you whirl through all the book launch events!

    • Kate on April 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you so much, Chris! I’m thrilled that you’re liking Use Your Words, and that it’s helping to support your writing! (Which is, of course, worthwhile!!) Thank you for reading!