The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir
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The Gift of an Ordinary Day is an intimate memoir of a family in transition-boys becoming teenagers, careers ending and new ones opening up, an attempt to find a deeper sense of place, and a slower pace, in a small
Poised on the threshold between family life as she's always known it and her older son's departure for college, Kenison is surprised to find that the times she treasures most are the ordinary, unremarkable moments of everyday life, the very moments that she once took for granted, or rushed right through without noticing at all.
The relationships, hopes, and dreams that Kenison illuminates will touch women's hearts, and her words will inspire mothers everywhere as they try to make peace with the inevitable changes in store.
our new home of its assorted ashtrays, stained dish towels, questionable pillows, and moldering throw rugs. Much of what we inherit, however, we keep. The furniture will do. And it seems as if we’re being offered a peek at the history of the house in the artifacts that have accumulated here for generations—the pliant decks of yellowed playing cards, the satiny wooden chessmen in their brittle cigar box, the commemorative plate depicting the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the collection of 1940s
computer science. He isn’t certain he’s ready to forgo all this unexplored territory in favor of moving to Boston to immerse himself for four years in jazz theory and performance… but then again, he might want to do just that. Right now, he thinks, the important thing is to cover the bases, to do what he can to try to ensure that when the time does come to decide, he has some choices. That means that his last two weeks of summer vacation have been all about essays and applications. It is an odd
swing set in the backyard and his best friend’s house across the street, and said, “Think about how terrible it will be to spend the very last night in this house, knowing that we will never, ever sleep here again. Think how terrible it will feel when some other family is living here, in our house, the house that we should have lived in forever.” On Jack’s bedroom windowsill at my parents’ house, there are four hollow shells, shells that used to be inhabited by his hermit crabs. And though the
rooms everywhere: You hold your breath, every muscle in your body frozen in time and space, as the coach reads the list of names, the list that your entire future depends upon. Then, heart suddenly pounding as if to escape your chest, you break out in a sweat as he comes to the end and looks up over his half-glasses, done. The coach is already calling out the time for practice tomorrow, but you’re in shock, barely aware of your best friend there in front of you, his awkward, “Sorry, dude,”
strengthened and readied him for what comes next, the even greater job of leaving. For now, though, he has no choice but to embrace uncertainty, to live for a few more months with the great unanswered question—leaving for where? For months, I’ve watched Henry compose honest answers to questions on admissions forms. He has shared his innermost hopes and dreams, sight-read strange music on unfamiliar pianos, conversed with interviewers and admissions officers, willingly opened himself up to