I’m joining Honoré at Morning Glory Studio and writing about my One Little Word – Present (click here to view all of my posts on this topic this year). Typically we gather on the last Tuesday of the month, but Honoré showed us all a little grace last week given that it was the week of Thanksgiving.

I almost didn’t publish anything today. My November was completely off-kilter and I’ve felt like the earth has been wobbling under my feet. I couldn’t find the energy to sit at my computer and put in the effort. But as soon as I made myself sit with this empty document, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about.


Bug woke up wailing last Wednesday morning just before 4am. I ran up the stairs and tried to comfort him. Because he’s nonverbal, often he cannot give any communication clues about what’s wrong, so I walked into his room completely unsure about what he needed. He has a sensory processing disorder in addition to autism and sometimes he just doesn’t want to be touched. He’s very sensitive to sound and sometimes talking, singing, or humming upsets him even more. This was one of those times. All I could do was lay in his bed with him, without touching him, without making a sound, and sit with him until this passed. I stayed with him for over an hour until he cried himself out and settled back into his bed. There was nothing I could do to help him feel better or find comfort. I could only be present with him.

There it is. Present.

Any parent knows how difficult it is to helplessly watch their child struggle. Any friend or relative knows how hard it is to see a loved one in pain and know that their journey has to be traveled, despite its difficulties. The only thing we can do is be present with them, honor them, and let them know they’re not alone.

During that time in Bug’s room, I couldn’t help but be worried about my own early morning routine. I wake up at 4:30 for a reason – there are things that I want to do for myself! Was I going to break my journal writing streak? Was I going to miss publishing a blog post?

But somehow, thanks to all of this practice with being present this year, I did something that I haven’t always been able to do: push my own thoughts aside and focus on the importance of the moment. Yes – that daily journaling streak is really important to me. Yes – publishing a blog post each Wednesday is something I’ve worked really hard on. And Bug is still more important than all of that. Sitting with him, even when I can’t do anything to help him, teaches me so much. Being his mother has been the most formative experience of my life.

(And don’t worry about Bug – he had a vaccination the day before and spent Wednesday feverish and out of sorts. I assume that his morning distress was related to that. By Friday he was totally back to his rascally ways! But of course – he’s now quarantined from his treatment center again. This is the second time since September!

And – I was able to write my morning pages and publish my blog post that morning, however rushed and messy they turned out.)

2021 Word of the Year

I’ve been working on a separate post for this topic for well over a month but it will be quite a while until it’s finished, so I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce my Word for next year.

Stillness started showing up over the summer and I couldn’t ignore it. One of my biggest stumbling blocks is jealousy. I plan to write more about how jealousy can be quieted by stillness soon, but in 2021 I hope to practice stilling my heart and living the life that I have*.

I plan to read Stillness is the Key in January and Real Happiness: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation in February to get me started on this journey. I can’t wait to see what 2021 has to teach me.


I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts this week. I can’t wait to see how your word showed up for you and if you’re making decisions about 2021. Thanks for visiting today!

*live the life that I have is a line from Daily Prayer by Pádraig Ó Tuama.

16 thoughts

  1. Wonderful words and a great gift of a post this strangely warm morning. Bug is lucky to have you, as are we. And perhaps most importantly, YOU have you, in each moment. And that’s not luck but loving choices and daily deepening wisdom.

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  2. Sometimes jus being there is the only thing you can do, and being Mum is the most rewarding experience in my life, the only thing that really matters. So glad he is fine now- I have a real soft spot for that little chap, and I’m thousands of miles away. xx

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  3. Being a parent is the hardest job there is, and being the parent of a child with exceptional needs is downright superhero territory. I’m sure that when Bug has an episode like this, it’s really hard not to do what you’d do with your other kids — hug him and murmur assurances that he’s safe and okay. It really goes against your instincts, right? But you are a great mother because you understand that what he needs most is your presence.

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  4. Your response to Bug is true mothering, providing what your child really needs, and is a perfect example of being present. It sounds like you have learned so much through your word this year and I wish you all the best in 2021. I haven’t read Sharon Salzberg’s book, but she does quite a few meditations in the 10% Happier app I use, and she is an exemplary teacher!

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  5. This is exactly what I needed to read this morning, Katie. What *is* really important! I have been struggling to find some kind of balance between what *is* important and what I *think* is important. You have just showed me that incredibly beautiful difference. Thank you for sharing such a moving morning (and I am so glad Bug is back to his rascally self!)

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    1. Oh, thanks Kat. I’m glad you found it helpful. It’s so difficult to sort through everything we’re bombarded with – day in and day out. Here’s to hoping that 2021 will be a little more boring (in a good way)!

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  6. What a powerful way to embody your Word. (And what a teacher you have beside you in this life.) I recognize that feeling you describe, that pull and tear, of knowing where you need to be…yet, also, where you *planned* and expected to be…and ‘giving in’–giving TO–that greater need. Almost always not your Self. I suppose it’s a sort of a grace all the way around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. It’s still really hard for me to push aside the things that *I* need or want in order to give to others. I know it’s hard for most people. But it helps to remind myself that these are blips and I can still find ways to fill my own bucket. Thank you for always leaving such kind and thoughtful comments!

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  7. Beautiful words. You are such a wonderful mother and so wise. I’m glad your morning included some of the things that nourish you. I look forward to your review of the books and reading about a journey into stillness.

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  8. Your Present story is perfect, Katie. and Stillness sounds amazing for 2021 (I’ve seen that Ryan Holiday book crop up on lots of lists). I really appreciate your honesty (it’s brave to share that openly, too)!

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