A Year of Moments

I was born on the 13th day of February (a Friday to boot) so I have an affinity for the number 13, especially since so many people say it’s unlucky. I’ve always been crazy rebellious that way.

2013 went fast, the fastest year yet. In fact, it was hard to think back on what happened, so I read through this blog and searched through my planner for reminders.

Some of what I found:

January: I read The Snow Child, my favorite book of the year. (You can read about that and other Great New Books here.) I also rang in the New Year in a small, London pub with some of my favorite people.


Sister, husband, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law at a pre-Liverpool football game celebration on New Year’s Day.

February: I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild, my favorite movie of the year. I also began contributing to PDXX Collective—check them out—and passed the 1-year mark on this blog.

March: We traveled to Naples, FL with my husband’s parents, the only major travel we did this year after a 2012 filled to the brim with trips. It made me realize four big trips in a year is too many; one is too few.

April: Got to see Vanessa Diffenbaugh speak at my local theater, the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, five blocks from my house. She was charming and smart and funny. If you haven’t read her book, The Language of Flowers, you should do so.

My son started t-ball. Bestill my beating heart.

May: I submitted my manuscript to She Writes Press and later that month it was accepted. The first person I told was my husband (he was next to me as I read the email on my phone). I tried to call my mom but she was in the middle of Wisconsin so I had to send a text. My sister was in Ireland; as soon as she received my text she sent a video of her and her Irish friends cheering for me in a Dublin pub.

June: Signed the contract with SWP.

Attended Printer’s Row Lit Fest and stood in line for Colum McCann to sign my copy of Let the Great World Spin. I sweated and stuttered as I told him that my sister was in Ireland (he’s Irish). He wrote an Irish blessing in my book.

July: I spent one week at the Northwoods resort I went to every summer as a child. Everything was the same, down to the swingset. It was fantastic and trippy, and I’ve never tripped before.

August: My son started kindergarten. It was hard, but I have a feeling 1st grade is going to be much harder. Gone all day? No thank you. The day before school started, I took him on a date, his choice. We ended up at a local heritage farm, walked the grounds, petted the animals, and Henry picked up a leaf from the ground that he thought was pretty and gave it to me. It’s now pressed between the pages of my journal.

I road-tripped to Troy, OH, for Mumford & Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road tour, which is becoming an annual tradition with my husband and sister, and an old friend from elementary school.

September: My husband and I celebrated our 9th anniversary. I gave him tickets to Macklemore. (He’s a born-and-raised Norwegian-Minnesotan who loves rap.) He gave me a writing desk.

I also ran a half-marathon, which my knees still seem to be recovering from.

October: 15-year college reunion. It’s hard to write that.

November: Thanksgiving in Minneapolis. 10 degrees.

December: The HerStories Project published. It’s been remarkable getting to know the fifty writers involved, and it’s a remarkable book on friendship. You can buy one for your friends HERE.


And last but not least, I received in the mail the advance copies of my book, The Rooms Are Filled (April 2014). It’s also up on NetGalley.com, for all you book bloggers and reviewers. If you’d like to read and review it, check it out and download a free e-copy HERE.

Honestly, though, when I think back on the year, I think of my children, and of mothering. I think of teaching them to bake cookies, playing dinosaurs, riding bikes on our dead-end street with neighbors, lying in bed with them after story time, watching them sleep, kissing their soft cheeks, wiping their bums, wiping their tears. I think of sledding and strollers, discovery walks in the alley, gummy worms piled on frozen yogurt, first fish and life jackets that are too big. Sidewalk chalk and pretend lawn mowers, library books and lunch on the front porch, blueberry yogurt dripping down shirt fronts.

There are so many details in a life; the highlights tell only a small part of the story.

This week we will host Christmas dinner. My children will spill milk, they’ll talk over each other, my daughter will hold up a finger and say “Ackashee” instead of “actually,” my son will complain he’s bored and do a dance that makes me laugh, they’ll flip over their kid chairs and make a fort. And many, many other things.

Cheers to life’s moments. I hope each of you find happiness in them.


12 thoughts on “A Year of Moments

  1. Within minutes of reading your latest offering, I came across this. It seems apropos.

    “You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift Just breathe, notice, study their faces and little feet. Pay Attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today, it will be over before you know it.”

  2. I love how you always focus on the bright side. My year in review would probably highlight all of the crazy annoying things that happened! You remind me to focus on the little great things in life! Have a very Merry Christmas! Tell your family I said hi and I’ll see you in a few days! 🙂

  3. I love your year in review, Jessica. Your posts are always so soothing, and when you write about your family, I can’t help but smile. Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, to you! 🙂

  4. I don’t think I quite realized you were here for Thanksgiving! Next time I will track you down! (I don’t mean that as threatening as it sounds.)

    What a year, my friend. So glad our paths have crossed online so much.

  5. First of all, what a gorgeous bunch of people. Secondly, LOVED Beasts of the Southern Wild! I like this idea of yours of capping the year. And thanks for reminding me of my eldest son’s first year of kindergarten. He all but held onto my leg as I tried to leave, killed me. My second son was even worse. : ) See you in the papers as they say, fellow April 2014 SWP publishee. .

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