The morning wasn’t simple. I didn’t have everything together, but we all made it out of the house on time and with the things were supposed to have. The house was ok, which is to say the twisted, “If I die and don’t make it home will people judge the way I lived” musing I do each day ended with, “Naw, it’d be ok.”

I made it to the school in time to actually walk Avery and her class to the track. She was beaming. I am never early, rarely on time, but I was both and she was puffed to the point of bursting. We walked hand-in-hand. The next few hours are blur. I snapped photos, offered water, towels and sunscreen from my bag, and just generally stayed close to Avery.

There was a moment as we waited for the events to start that I snapped on my phone. Looking at the image now I am weak in the knees with gratitude that I took the morning to do what I did. Because in this photo, in this single frame, I see the slick baby they put in my arms, dark thatches of beautiful black hair and limbs that hugged me back, the little girl who is determined to show she can do it and the thoughtful, easier-to-hurt-than-you-think woman I know she’ll be. Bringing her into the world was the hardest thing I have ever done and she has been rewarding me for it ever since.

Take the time. Take some time. Whatever you do, take something, this is your life.