Jen writes

May 21, 2014

You’re going to read that book AGAIN?

Sometimes, even though the pile of books by my bed is tall enough for me to reach over and set my glasses on before I fall asleep at night … Sometimes, nothing there in that pile speaks to me. There are endless books in this world, and choosing one to read at any given time can be overwhelming. That’s why sometimes it’s nice to visit an old, reliable favorite.

Today, over at Project: Underblog I’ve put together a list of books I’ve read more than once. It’s a commitment to re-read a book, and I can’t tell you how many times someone has questioned me about such behavior. (But people watch movies more than once all the time, I often think to myself or want to say. Why not revisit the language and story of the book?) I try to not be defensive when I respond that I enjoy rediscovering the language that I forgot had formed the story in my head, the one that has stayed with me since 1996, when I read it shortly before my 24th birthday and have read every August* since. For instance.


*Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner stands alone. I had to mention it here. After all, Wally has his own tag on this blog. Go ahead and click around if you want to get an idea of CTS in my life. But don’t forget to come on by Project: Underblog and share what books you have re-read (or would like to).


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Jen writes

May 14, 2014


This morning I wrote my last preschool tuition check—late, like just about all of them, but last. I started writing at Momalom when this soon-to-be kindergartener of mine was just about six months old. How did that happen?

The milestones keep coming, and we enjoy them and smile and remark about how it all goes really fast. It’s sad and it’s happy and if I dwell too long, it’s more sad than happy. I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach. The feeling that tells me I haven’t done enough. I should have had another baby. I would finally know what to do the fourth time around. The feeling that tells me that I haven’t enjoyed the moments enough. That I’ve focused too much on the constantly dirty floors and the piles of the laundry and the half-eaten apples on the kitchen counter.

But if I don’t dwell too much. If I move around just enough that the feeling doesn’t settle in the pit of my stomach, I can feel it instead move to my chest, my heart swelling with pride at this baby of mine, a baby no more. Like every mother lucky enough to witness this growing up of the children who carry them through their every day, there is nothing quite like pausing to look at this little person of yours and allow yourself to think back about the time when she was so much littler. (Like yesterday. Wasn’t she littler just yesterday? Really. Weren’t her pants long enough yesterday?!)

My children rely on me for a lot. Reasonably clean floors. Reasonably clean clothes to wear. Fruit that is not too bruised to eat. One of the secrets of parenting, though, is that I rely on them for more. That this more makes me a better person as each day passes and as the years add up, more birthday candles to buy at every turn. Every day being a mother makes me stronger. Kinder. More aware of my actions. More aware of my reactions. Every day my three children smile at me and roll their eyes at me. They grow and change. They challenge and frustrate. They fall and get back up. They soar, and I wipe away the tears. My tears. They still don’t understand the connection of tears to absolute joy.

Next year is the one year in this parenting gig that our three children will be attending the same school. This feels big. It feels like the beginning of another stage for all five of us. And I’m focusing on this, because the last check, as glad as I am to have come to the end of seven straight years of preschool payments, sure as heck feels like high-water pants and my baby going off into the world on her own. From the pit of my stomach to my hand clutching at tissues, I am happysad and in awe.


Read More in Jen Writes, motherhood, three kids

Jen writes

February 14, 2014


This Valentine’s Day I love Project: Underblog. I know, you’ve heard me say it before. But I’m telling you again, because this community is small and mighty. And you’re invited to join. We’re in a great transition right now, with room for submissions while we make some really cool updates and start to roll out some even cooler campaigns. If you have something to say and no where to say it, Project: Underblog may be the perfect fit. If you have something you’ve said and want a new community to read your words, send us that post. We’ll share it! All of us at the ol’ Underblog understand that life moves fast. We’re busy with work and book contracts, children and our own writing. We’re a small community of big ideas, and we want to share them with you. So come on by, take a look, read a few posts, leave a comment, ask a question.


We’re small. We’re mighty. Join us.


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