Motherhood & Words

Friday’s tragedy in Newtown continues to reverberate through our lives, our families, our communities. From my tiny office I stare out the window at the gray skies and the dirty snow, and feel the weight of that tremendous loss, of all of those young lives obliterated. I turn to my computer when I can stand it and read about the victims and their families, tears welling in my eyes again and again.

This weekend I had a lot on my plate—workshop pieces for my online class, a book-length manuscript I’m editing, a freelance article I’ve been working on. But I couldn’t make myself sit down at my desk. I couldn’t bear to isolate myself from my family.

So instead I held my girls tightly, caught them up in as many hugs as they would allow, and I baked. Or rather I stirred and stirred, then, hours later, wrapped and wrapped. In other words: I made my first batch of homemade caramels. I have never been much of confectioner, but this year, I stumbled upon a caramel recipe that called to me. I started with the classics and then made a batch of orange espresso caramels. I have to say that they are dangerously delicious. Sunday morning as the girls were busy with a sewing project and then a beading project (with an intermission at the pool to swim), I cut cellophane, wrapped, and taped. And for those short hours, the world felt safe.

Here is a glimpse of my handywork (100 of each kind):


Sending love out into the world these days and hugging my girls close.

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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. Sue on December 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    And that is really all we can do is it not? Hug our babies and send love into the world, day after day. And pray that light will win out.

    The Caramels look delicious- I see them pulling my dental work right out 🙂

    • Angie Mizzell on December 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Yes, Sue. What you said. Even the part about the caramels. Especially the part about the caramels. 🙂

      • Kate on December 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        Yes, Angie! I wish we lived in the same city so you could come over and try them!

    • Kate on December 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Yes, it is, Sue.

      And the caramels are soft. They practically dissolve in your mouth, so I think you’d be fine. I’ll make some more in June to take to Madeline Island!

  2. Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer) on December 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I have done a lot of hugging and kissing and not yelling these past couple of days. I’m so grateful for my children and their precious lives and I need to show it more. They are to be cherished as long as we have them and they have us.

    Maybe your caramels will taste like love to their lucky recipients! The orange espresso sounds amazing.

    Hugs to you and yours!

    • Kate on December 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Hallie, I hope they DO taste like love. What a wonderful way to put it.

      And I know what you mean. Don’t we all need to show our love more often?

  3. Andrea on December 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Oh, so awful. There are no words.

    But caramels, yes. Yours look gorgeous (100 of them!!). I made a batch of these last month and, despite accidentally using twice the required amount of butter, ate almost all of them myself.

    • Kate on December 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      I know, Andrea.

      I KNEW you’d be proud of my caramels because you are so crafty. The apple cider ones look delicious, too. And I actually made 200! (I’m trying to get them out of my house before I eat too many.)

  4. Sara on December 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    There is comfort and love in food when made right. There has been a lot of comfort food and snuggles and stories and candles in this house lately.

    P.S. if you’re trying to get caramels out of your house, you’re welcome to send some here : )