Motherhood and choice

Happy Mother’s Day.

Earlier this week, after news broke that the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v Wade, thereby robbing certain people (myself included) of our bodily autonomy and full reproductive choices, I called every single one of my representatives. This is what I said:

Hello. My name is Kristan Hoffman, and I am a constituent from the city of Cincinnati. I wanted to call last night, but I needed time. Time to stop vibrating with dread. Now I am ready to act, and I need you to be too. I need you to do everything in your power to protect me, and all women, all girls, all people who could possibly bear children.

I am a mother. I have been pregnant twice, have given birth twice, and am now raising two amazing children who I love deeply. I chose to have them, and I chose when to have them, and I choose not to have anymore. I have the right to my own body. I have EVERY right to my own body, just as a man does.

I’m sure you’ve heard this, but I’ll mention it again, just in case, because I think there is no other argument — nothing about viability, or about the sanctity of life, or about any of these points that we all can debate till the cows come home — there is just this one fact that makes everything so crystal clear:

If someone is dying, and I am the only person in the entire world who can save them with some part of my body — my heart, my lung, my blood, my anything — still I cannot be forced to give it to them. Not even if their injury is the consequence of my actions. Nobody — not a judge, not a doctor, not my partner, nobody — can compel me to sacrifice a part of my body unwillingly to save another person’s life.

Because that is a fundamental human right. And it must be enshrined into law.

That is your job. Please go do it.

Renewal

Our yard has so much potential. And yet, over our years here, it has struggled.

At first, we didn’t know what we were doing. There was too much shade, too much dog pee. We were too lazy to set up sprinklers, and the mosquitoes discouraged us from even venturing out. We shrugged and gave up. We would deal with it later, or maybe never.

Then, our kids were born. Then, the pandemic happened. Suddenly the yard was a vital refuge. We needed it to thrive.

We uprooted the thorny rose bushes, cut down diseased trees. Aerated and seeded. Committed to providing extra water when nature withheld it. We put in the work. And we watched, delighted, as our efforts were rewarded. The yard became beautiful.

Then, winter. Much of the new grass shriveled, leaving us with stringy brown thatch and mud.

But we no longer lose our resolve. With every passing season, we learn more about what needs to be done. This yard is not a task to be completed one time and then forgotten, but rather, an ongoing project, an annual nurturing. We must follow the sun, harness the rains, and remain hardy through whatever comes. (Or doesn’t come.)

And now, once again, spring is upon us.

I thought these seeds, thrown down in haste and tended haphazardly, were a lost cause. But here they are, sprouting.

This is all too many words to say: This yard is like me, the past few years. I have flourished, and I have withered. I sense a new season coming for me soon, and I have sprinkled my seeds. I am ready to sprout.

2021 in photos

2021 was a rockier ride than hoped for, right up to the very end… But there were still some good times.

Although I am trying not to pin too many hopes on 2022, I do welcome the turning of the calendar to a fresh page.

Quiet

I don’t suppose anyone with an online journal can claim to want nothing from it. If we truly wanted nothing, we wouldn’t be posting on the internet, after all.

But my personal relationship with blogging has gone through many evolutions over many years, and I’m in a quiet place with it right now. There’s so much noise out there. I don’t need it here.


These pictures are from several months ago, Memorial Day weekend, when we took the kids to visit my in-laws, who graciously enabled me and Andy to get away for a couple child-free nights. We stayed at a lovely traditional bed & breakfast in the Finger Lakes region, and it was the first time in at least two years that I truly relaxed.

Favorite books of 2020

Thanks to being a mom to two small children during a global pandemic, I didn’t get to read much last year. But quality over quantity, right?

My favorite book in 2020 was WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord. Even though I happen to know Emery in real life, I had never read any of her books until this one. What a fool I’ve been!

Given how warm and thoughtful she is, it comes as no surprise that Emery can write so brilliantly and tenderly here about grief, mental illness, and love of all kinds. Vivi, Jonah, and the whole town of Verona Cove were absolutely delightful. I felt charmed from the very start. I laughed with them, I cried with them, and best of all, I devoured their story, completely engrossed, at a time when concentrating on anything for more than ten minutes had become nearly impossible.

Fortunately I’ve been able to do a lot more reading in 2021. And you can click here for previous years’ favorites.


To be honest, I have no idea how Andy managed to read as many books as he did in 2020. He shifted into an extremely challenging new role at work just as the pandemic was starting up, and yet he also was never anything less than an A+ dad and partner.

These were his favorites of last year: