January 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

It seems late to wish you a happy new year since January is almost over. But 2022 is still new, so Happy New Year anyway!

I mentioned in my last newsletter that my younger son got engaged just before Thanksgiving. Then recently, my nephew and his wife had a baby, who, if my parents were still alive, would be their first great-grandchild. “A new generation is birthed,” I replied in our family text. 

I’m trying to parse my feelings, a mix of joy, awe, and nostalgia. Even melancholy–that life flies by so quickly, that my extended family lives so far away, that I am mortal, destined not to witness the entirety of this new generation’s lives.

For me, it’s the circle of life on steroids. That’s how I experience things–deeply and profoundly. Above all, I am grateful to witness life as it appears, as it fades, as it grinds by every day. I’m grateful to be part of something bigger than myself. And I’m grateful you are part of that “something bigger.”

On a related note, did you read my latest blog? 

 Does a “getting things done” mindset interfere with relationships?

If you find that your need to be productive gets in the way of finding balance in life, let me know!

In the meantime, stay warm, enjoy the longer days, and be grateful.

Best,

Karen

Please follow me on Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram. 

 
Growth:
A Mother, her Son, and the Brain Tumor they Survived.

    When her eight-year-old son begins to exhibit increasingly bizarre behaviors, a happily married mother of two must meet the overwhelming demands of motherhood and wrestle with her fear of conflict if she and her son are to survive.  
 
In memoir news,  my year is off to a positive start. I’ve been querying literary agents and small presses, and the feedback so far is encouraging. One agent requested my proposal, another agent requested my full manuscript, and two agents apologetically passed, one writing, “This is a really smart and compelling query letter.” 

Holy moly! The validation would thaw a January deep freeze. It’s going to be a good year–I can feel it.

 

New class opportunity! I created a new Zoom class called Digging for Meaning in Motherhood.  Maybe you’ll be interested:

Motherhood, one of life’s greatest teachers, is a wellspring of personal growth, but sometimes we must dig to unearth her lessons. After our children have grown, we may develop a fresh perspective on the joy and heartache of the previous years. Using writing prompts, timed writing exercises, and excerpts from contemporary works of creative nonfiction, participants will mine their memories for their own truths of motherhood. Geared toward empty-nested mothers, but anyone who has mothered a child is welcome. No writing experience necessary. 

I had hoped to have a date and time scheduled by the time of this writing, but I had a technology glitch. (Don’t you just hate technology glitches?) 

But if you’d like to know more, just sign up on this page and I’ll send you information as soon as I get it scheduled!  I’d love for you to participate!
 
A Blast from the Past:
This picture is circa 1990 at Gator Land in Orlando, Florida. Matthew, four, is in the middle, flanked by my mother on the left and me on the right. Around our necks, a boa constrictor. On our laps, an alligator.

And I freak out if a spider gets too close.

Michael, Matthew, and I had flown to Florida to meet my parents and go to Disney World. Matthew came down with a double ear infection and that morning got a shot of penicillin in his tiny behind big enough to spear a dolphin. The poor kid limped all day. So when he asked if he could have a picture with the reptiles, how could I say no?

Did the men–my dad and  Michael–step up to the plate? Nope. Nana and Mom had to be the brave ones. My mother had written on the back of the picture: “You can tell Karen wasn’t thrilled about the whole idea. What mothers go through for their children!” 

She had no idea, nor did I, how true that statement would become. And I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.


Books that inform my writing.
I loved Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year. Then, I discovered that her son had a son, and Anne wrote A Journal of My Son’s First Son.  I’ll be honest that I haven’t read this yet, but it’s at the top of my to-read list. It’s another example of the circle of life.
[The book link brings you to Amazon, but please consider supporting your local indie book store. Also, if you have a favorite book about motherhood, please let me know!]

People-pleasing on the web.

The Psychology Behind People-Pleasing and Why So Many of Us Do It.


The Hourglass Model of Saying “No.” (I love this one!)
 


“But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”― Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven


 

Author

  • Karen DeBonis writes about motherhood, people-pleasing, and personal growth, the entangled mix told in her memoir "Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived" forthcoming in spring 2023. Subscribe today to receive Chapter 1: A Reckoning.

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