I just finished reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison and it's left me feeling out of sorts. The premise of the book is one we've all heard before: Pay attention to the small moments that make up life and you'll be a happier, more content person for it.
Unfortunately, and probably through no fault of her own, Kenison's writing had the opposite effect on me. After reading the tactics she uses to simplify and appreciate her life, I'm left feeling like I'll never measure up. Kenison, an editor who for sixteen years worked from home while raising her two sons is, by her own admission, put on this earth to nurture. Plants, people, flowers... it would not surprise me to find out she and Martha Stewart share a blood lineage or a telepathy link.
Kenison takes time in the afternoon to sip ginger tea and snack on ginger cookies in her kitchen with the wide, shiny pinewood plank floors and the light scent from the fresh flowers she's just set out tickling her nose.
Freaking A! I don't even know where one might buy ginger tea, I don't "snack" on cookies so much as set up self-challenges to see how many I can shove in my mouth at any one sitting, and the last time I set fresh flowers out the cats ate them then barfed up the stems in the hall.
Kenison is one of those women who has a homemade pie ready at any given moment and she and her husband and teenage sons gather together in the kitchen at night after a son's basketball game and eat pie and drink tea and bask in the warm glow of family life. She pauses to reflect on the simple joy of smoothing a red holiday tablecloth over the dining room table and walking outside to gather bark, twigs, and pine cones to create a rustic yet understated holiday centerpiece for her table.
All of which leaves me feeling most unworthy.
Kenison may be living the simple life but she's got a leg up on the rest of us. I suspect my house resembles a crack den when compared to the neat, orderly, and fragrant "simple" life of Kenison.
Don't get me wrong. I want Kenison's life. I want to sip ginger tea and have homemade baked goods at the ready. But I am so not that woman. Not yet, anyway.
But later today I might reach an arm out the backdoor, grab a stick, put it in a mason jar on a side table and call it art.
We've all got to start somewhere. . .