Guess what? This is my last post on this blog because I’ve got a gorgeous new website!
Though I can’t take credit for the gorgeousness–that’s all Adrienne Adair and Lisa Albrecht.
But I can appreciate the gorgeousness. And so can you!
Just come visit me over there and see all the fun new stuff, like:
•fantastic new buttons for your website or blog!
•audio recordings of me reading (…how long has it been since you were read-to?)
•a fun new author photo by Karen Walrond
•a new Q&A with me from Random House about my new book, Get Lucky
And tons of other stuff! Come visit and explore!
And be sure to:
•sign up for updates (I don’t want to lose you!) at www.katherinecenter.com
•join the Facebook fan page (My personal FB page is about to get quiet, but the fan page is about to get loud!)
•follow me on Twitter
•tell everyone you’ve ever met about all the goodness going on at the new site! We’re adding great new stuff all the time.
And you know what that means.
Climbing backwards up the slide.
Picking every flower that dares to blossom.
And miniature fruit kebabs on toothpicks.
In another couple of months, it’ll be so hot that “outside” will be something we only want to see through the window. But right now, the sun is out, the breeze is blowing, and every single minute seems like a miracle.
A few weeks back, I got offered a free night’s stay at a family resort called Great Wolf Lodge. Which is in Dallas. Which is 5 hours from where we live. And part of the offer was a brand-new Chevy to borrow for the drive up.
And I’m not really a big vacationer. We go to visit family every summer, but we don’t usually take vacations just for fun. I guess we have enough fun around our own house that we don’t usually go seeking it out.
But once the offer was out there, I got to thinking that my kids would probably really, really love it. And so I just went ahead and said yes.
So, on Saturday, we drove up to Dallas. And, after snagging a photo of my toes, I gave my kids our snapshot camera to take photos of the trip. When I got the camera back, I had about a hundred pictures of the car floor, the kids’ sneakers, and the back of my head. But mixed in among them were a few beauties:
And the kids did really, really love the trip. And it made me so happy to see them so happy. And taking a family vacation like that–just the four of us, mom and dad in the front seat and kids in the back with crayons–felt like another official stamp in the parent passport. I really am a grown-up now. I’ve made it around to the other side of the circle. Whatever I saw when I looked at the back of my mother’s head from the back seat of our station wagon, my kids now see when they look at me. Whatever she meant to me then I now mean to someone else. Which is a tremendous and terrifying honor, when I stop to think about it. And also, more than anything, a blessing.
I am scanning photos for my dad’s 70th birthday. Which is, actually, impossible–because my dad is 45 years old. He has always been 45 years old, and he will always be 45 years old. Period.
Except that here I am scanning his baby photos. Which means at some point, he must have been four.
The same age my son is now. And he must have played the same little-boy games and built forts and run around. My dad at this age actually looks a lot like my son. And the truth is, even though my dad has drawers full of family photos that he’s collected, I have not seen that many of them. It never really occurred to me to look at childhood photos of my dad. Because he never had a childhood. Because he has always been 45 years old.
Like he is here:
Circa 1983. My mom, my two sisters, my dad, and me. I’m the supermodel in the sailor hat and braces.
I’ve seen this photo a thousand times. It’s one of those favorites that make it into frames and holiday cards. But it’s been a while since I looked at it. And looking now, in this context, makes me see it differently. I can’t help but feel so sympathetic to all these people–these younger versions of ourselves. I know so much that they don’t know: All the things that are waiting for them, and what those things will mean, and how they will linger or be forgotten. I know what will happen next to these people. And for that reason, more than anything else, the only thing my eyes can feel when they rest on this photo tonight is a fierce and inexplicable tenderness.
It’s been a long month of sick kids (and parents) at my house. And even though I knew there would be many, many, many of my favorite people at the Mom 2.0 Summit last weekend, I had to scramble pretty hard to get there.
But I made it. And it was so good in so many ways.
Something magical happens when you get so many amazing people in one place. And watching my video up on the big screen at the opening of the conference was pretty magical for me, too.
I love like crazy the theme of Mom 2.o this year: What You’re Doing Matters. Partly because I wrote it (and felt so honored that the Mom 2.0 Girls chose it as a theme), and partly because I SO believe it. And seeing the art show, with all those ordinary mom moments from daily life in a place of honor up on a wall in a gallery — it was powerful stuff for me.
Here’s the art I contributed:
I Mod-Podged old dictionary pages on a canvas and then wrote the words with a paintbrush and black acrylic. It’ll be sold at the Mom 2.o online art auction (proceeds go to Haiti), and I’ll post the link when I have it.
By the way, here’s the piece of art I meant to contribute to the Mom 2.0 art show:
But after I finished it, I was kinda looking at it, thinking, “Not bad!” — when I noticed that little upside-down bird above “brave.” And, yep: Turns out I painted the words on an upside-down canvas. Oops.
But I also contributed some other art! I painted on the women who came to the art show. Anybody who wanted one got a word — or several — on her body. Here’s the beautiful Laurie Smithwick‘s arm:
All to say, it was a heck of a weekend. And that — really and truly — is not even the half of it.
Plenty of surreal things have happened in my life. But I’m not sure I’ve ever quite felt anything like it feels to look at this:
It’s my first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, in Czech.
It is indescribably bizarre to flip through a book that YOU wrote–and not be able to read a word. Not even guess at what the words might sound like.
The title in Czech translates to “Everything Bad Is Good For Something.” Which I love like crazy and I’m going to print up on a bumper sticker.
And one last thing: there’s an obese one-eye cat in the story named Dr. Blandon, and they put him on the back cover! Which is just about as good as it gets.
The images in the Mom 2.0: Defining a Movement video that I made all came from real photographers–women who are working on their craft every day. I am not a real photographer. But I did sneak in one of my own photos when I made the video. Just one.
This one’s mine.
It’s a heart I made for my daughter on a day when she was performing in an assembly at school, but I wasn’t allowed to be there. (It was Grandparents’ Day! Only room for grandparents!). I so wanted to be there! And I was far more nervous than she was at the prospect of her reciting a memorized paragraph in front of a giant auditorium. But it made me feel better to make this and know that she had it with her.
She , of course, did great at the assembly. As is so often the case with mothering, I worried over nothing. But she still keeps this heart in her backpack, and takes it with her to school every day. And I’m so glad she has it.