Motherhood & Words

A recap of that thing called life (and some birthday wishes for my daughter)

I obviously haven’t posted in a while, and I apologize, but I’ve barely been keeping my head above water. I’ve been involved in a job search, a final edit of Use Your Words before it moves to copyediting, prepping for and participating in the 2nd Annual Minnesota Blogger Conference (which was this past Saturday and which was fabulous—even better than last year. I was blown away by the wonderful writing by the people in my session. Go, writers!) Saturday night, we were out in Blaine at the National Sports Center watching D play in the MN History Soccer Game. (He’s still got it, by the way—scored his team’s only goal. From the stands it seemed as though his whole body was smiling.) And then Sunday, we held Stella’s 8-year-old kid party (with a gaggle of 7- and 8-year-old girls running around our house and yard), then spent Sunday evening at the benefit concert for our friend John Sylvester (our friend who is fighting the diagnosis of ALS).
Monday morning I woke up desperate for a day to regroup. Instead, everything is full speed ahead. I accepted a temporary full-time position (starting this Thursday!) in a social service agency that serves the Latino community in the Twin Cities. It’s a wonderful organization, and I’m excited to gain new skills and polish my very rusty Spanish. (I sputtered and turned bright red in the interview when we switched to Spanish. I looked like a complete idiot. That they still offered me the position is incredible.)
So I’m excited about the job, but it will change the whole feel of our lives. No more Zoë days. No more games of Sorry with Stella in the afternoons. No more mornings at the coffee shop writing. No more multi-step dinners during the week. (Hello, crock pot.) But still, it’s a good move for me and my family. (Someday I’ll be able to break down the things that led to this…) For now, I just have to trust that I will figure out a way to fit in my writing and some exercise.
This is all a long excuse for why I haven’t posted in almost two weeks. What do you think?
And now it’s Tuesday September 13th, and my Stella is eight years old today. Usually on her birthday, I revisit that day, eight years ago, when I was vomiting and burning up from the magnesium sulfate, when I was just hoping that she would come out of me and be able to breathe on her own. Last night I wondered whether this year would bring the same flood of memories, and I doubted that it would. Stella is so grown up—so healthy and tall—so far removed from that three-pound preemie she was when she was born. But this morning, like clockwork, I thought, oh, this is when I began vomiting, this is when D arrived from his red-flight from Seattle, this is when, this is when. And I am tugged back in time by the current of details, seared into my memories of the day I became a mother.
I know there are women in similar situations right now—in their hospital beds, praying that their babies will stay inside them a few days (or hours) longer. I’m thinking of those women and families today as I celebrate all that my daughter has become: strong and determined, empathetic and caring, athletic and so very graceful. I love you, Stella. Happy Birthday! I’m wishing you a year filled with laughter and play, adventure, new interests and friendships. 

Posted in


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. Andrea on September 13, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Happy birthday to Stell, and to you too, for your years as a mother should be celebrated as well (especially after that hair-raising beginning). Good luck with the new job–every time I have a "sick" day or holiday, I just bask in the glory of moving slowly through the day, seeing my kids get off the bus, watching them move through their world, delighting with them and their discoveries. It's hard not to share that every day, but I think I do appreciate it so much more on the rare occassion that it occurs.

  2. kristenspina on September 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Happy birthday to your beautiful girl! The time goes so fast. I hope you love your new adventure, and I know you'll find the time for the writing and the exercise and the things you need for you. We adapt. Whether we think we can or not. Of course, I don't mean to make light of what will be a big change, but I do mean to say I have a feeling you'll be better than fine.

  3. kate hopper on September 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Thank you, Andrea and Kristen. These are exactly the thoughts and wishes I'm needing right now. xox

  4. KayK on September 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Pardon my Spanglish but –
    Feliz cumpleanos Stella y Besos y abrazos mi amiga para el trabaja nueva! Can we still do almuerza en el veinte y ocho de septiembre – media dia?

  5. Joy Riggs on September 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Congratulations on your new job, Kate! The agency is lucky to have you. The great thing about being a writer is that you're always a writer, even if you're not sitting down every day with a pad of paper or a laptop. Your new job experiences and your family's adaptations to a new schedule will provide even more writing material. It's exciting to see where it leads!

  6. pickygirl on September 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    excited for you and the new job, the birthday and the blogger convention– good things!

  7. Andria on September 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Kate! You are so awesome. Wishing you tons of luck and success in the new job. And happy birthday to that amazing Stella!