I’ve spent the last couple of days celebrating turning 44. The celebration kicked off Saturday night with a dinner hosted by dear friends, who, in addition hosting a wonderful dinner, pooled together to get me bass guitar lessons at Twin Town. (Whoop! I can’t believe my luck to have so many wonderful friends in my life.)

Sunday there was lots of driving to and from soccer practices. There was paint selection for our living room painting project. And there was another lovely dinner celebration with my family. Yesterday morning—my actual birthday—Donny and I went for a long walk, and then I had a wonderful lunch with my mom. I spent the afternoon sampling paint on our walls and the evening driving between Stella’s soccer practice and Zoë’s soccer game. It was a pretty ordinary day, but it was perfect. I’m simply grateful to do low-key things around the house and with family and friends.

Maybe my gratitude for the little things and for just being with those I love has to do with getting older. I no longer need fireworks on my birthday. (Though, if someone had some fireworks and wanted to set them off, that would be fine too.) Maybe my gratitude has to do with the fact that I am finally feeling better. I’m still not completely out of the woods—I still have pain some days—but I’m learning how to manage it, and I’m running and walking and even dancing through my living room, often without any pain at all. Phenomenal.

But my gratitude also has to do with knowing how fleeting life can be, how unpredictable. I’ve been thinking a lot about the victims and families and friends of the victims of the Orlando shooting. They have been robbed of birthday cakes and long walks and dinners with loved ones. They have been robbed of, well, everything. Just like that. I can’t wrap my mind around the senseless violence or around the fact that it’s even possible for people to buy assault weapons. How can we make this stop? How many times does this need to happen?

So my celebration these last days has been tempered with sadness over everything that those innocent people and their families and friends lost. I’m sending out love to all of them, and I’m holding tight to those I love.

What about you?

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Kate

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.

10 Comments

  1. Angie on June 14, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I also feel grateful for doing low-key things around the house. I find that I enjoy it, and when I do bigger things I need time afterwards to come down and recover. Our current trip to LA has been a mix of “on” days and “off” days. It does feels strange to be celebrating life when so many people who were out doing the same thing lost theirs. I’m not sure what to make of it. But I’m grateful for you and other special relationships that make life worthwhile, and the short time we have here. Happy birthday, friend.

    • Kate on June 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      I’m not sure what to make of it, either, Angie. It’s so distressing, isn’t it? Thank you for the birthday wishes, my friend. I look forward to seeing you and celebrating with you later this year! xoxox

  2. Marilyn Bousquin on June 14, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Happy Birthday to you, my dear writer-mentor-phenomenalwoman-badassbassguitarist friend! I am so glad that you were able to find your way to gratitude and joy amidst the cloud of sorrow we are all under right now. Your post is such a beautiful reminder that we can continue to be grateful for the little moments in our lives even when we are deeply shaken and sad and mourning deep in grief with no clear answers. So, right now, I’m taking a moment to look up from my desk at the picture of you hanging above it (yep!) looking back at me with your true smile. And I am grateful to be walking (and writing!) my way through this world with you. xoxoxo, M

    • Kate on June 15, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Thank you so much, Marilyn! I am so grateful to be writing and walking my way through this world with you! I was so happy to be able to spend some time with you and Steve! So freaking fabulous! Love you a ton! xoxo

  3. Sue on June 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Happy birthday my much younger friend. Gratitude for the small moments is what makes life worthwhile as there are more small moments than large. Difficult to makes sense of this latest tragedy, but somehow, some way we need to change this world. Hugs.

    • Kate on June 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Thank you, Sue! And yes we do, we need to find a way, without giving ourselves over to despair. Big hug for you, dear friend!

  4. Kristen on June 14, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    What a lovely, bittersweet post. I’m so glad your birthday was special in every way. Gratitude is good for the soul. xxk

    • Kate on June 15, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Thank you, Kristen! It IS good for the soul, isn’t it? xoxox

  5. Nina on June 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Beautiful said. Wishing you a happy, HEALTHY year .

    • Kate on June 17, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Thank you, Nina! I hope we get to see each other soon!

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