Finley and I were walking across the Target parking lot the other night. The pavement was slick, and we weren’t in a hurry. We strolled, holding hands, and talking.

A ten year old girl smiles at the camera as she walks. She has a long pleated skirt on and she casts a shadow. The photo is black and white.

“Mom, what did you want to be when you were my age?”

I thought for a minute, “A writer.”

She squeezed my hand and smiled, “You kind of do that now, right?”


She looked up at me, “Do you ever wish you were a book writer and that you didn’t do all the other stuff you do?”

“I’m not sure, maybe? I mean, I like what I do,” I said honestly.

“Would you still have met Dad if you were a writer?”

“That’s pretty doubtful. A lot of things have to happen, decisions and just life’s twists and turns, for people to meet.”

She was quiet. We both slipped inside ourselves for a moment. I found myself thinking that I didn’t want to say that if you are destined to meet, then you’ll meet. As much as I love parenting with an open heart and hopeful spirit, suggesting that love is promised and easy isn’t in the plan.

“Do you ever think that if you had gotten exactly what you wanted that we wouldn’t be here today?” she turned to me. “Like, the girls and I would never be born?”

Looking into her eyes, the sky dark around us, I felt the dizziness of all the times I have imagined losing the girls. I don’t think about them never being born as their existence is as much a part of me as my own body.

“No, honey. I never think about that. I also don’t regret not becoming a writer immediately after being in school. I’m glad things happened the way they did.”

“Do you think you’d like to write more?” She moved her second hand to rub my wrist above where her other hand was laced together with mine. Her instinct toward tenderness always catches me off guard, and I am shocked by how much comfort my baby can give me.

“You know what I think? I think I’d like to do this more often. I like spending time with you and hearing the way your mind and heart work. What do you think of that?”

“I think I really love you, mom. And I think you are pretty special.”