Motherhood & Words

I will spare you a medical update this week to instead write about my sweet Zoë, who is seven years old today.

Last night she snuggled into my lap on the couch and said, “Can you believe I’ve been alive for seven years?”

“Only seven years!” I said. “I can’t imagine a time you weren’t here. It seems like you’ve always been a part of our lives.” I leaned down and kissed the top of her head, and she tilted her face up, smiling that smile, clearly pleased.

Zoë has been counting down the days until her birthday for over a month, and in last week she’s been holding court at the dinner table: “Raise your hand if you’re excited about Zoë’s birthday.” (All of our hands go up. She smiles deliciously.) “Raise your hand if you love Zoë.” (All of our hands go up. More satisfied smiles.) “Raise your hand if you already got me a present.” (Some of our hands go up. She furrows her brow.) “Okay, raise your hand if you are going to get me a present.” (All of our hands go up again, and she giggles, full of glee.)

I remember when I was pregnant and Donny and I were trying to decide on a name for the baby kicking and spinning in my tummy. We couldn’t agree on anything, not until we landed on Zoë. And I’m so glad it’s the one we did land on because there couldn’t be a more perfect name for my daughter who, in all her spunk and sass and silliness and tenderness, seems to embody life itself.

So I’m happy to put my health stuff on the back burner for a couple of days to celebrate my daughter with cupcakes and dinner out, then a weekend full of balloons and cakes and gatherings of friends and family. I’m so grateful for her smiling face and gleeful spirit. Happy birthday, sweet Zoë!

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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 LeBreton on March 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Oh I can almost breathe in her sevenness-is that even a word? There are so many times as a mom I’d like to hit pause or at least slow down time. I turned and caught my skinny almost 14-year-old lugging in the recycling bin today, after teasing me that he would not. I was overcome by his size and the time warp that’s been almost 14 years. Oh we are blessed. Maybe we should all keep that love of birthdays.

    • Kate on March 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

      It’s amazing, isn’t it? I feel so cliched talking about how fast it’s all going, but it’s true. Whizzing by. I love the image of your fourteen-year-old lugging in the recycling bin.

  2. Andrea on March 6, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Aww, what a sweet family you have. Happy Birthday, Zoe, and Happy Mom-aversary, Kate! You’re doing a great job!!

    • Kate on March 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Oh Andrea, thank you. It doesn’t always feel like that, but I’m trying…

  3. Angie Mizzell on March 11, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I adore this story. It feels like she’s always been there — I’m definitely going to use that!

    • Kate on March 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you, my dear!