She chose a different path
I have a drawer full of magic. Serums, powders, creams, all promising to turn back time. Every day I take a little longer to see how I think I should. My daughter, now 14, says she has no interest in “patriarchal standards of beauty.” I’m happy and worried at the same time: glad she won’t be joining me on this Sisyphean road, but I’m afraid she’ll be judged for her choice. I am also optimistic; maybe one day I can walk away from my regimen. Until then, I’m proud of my daughter for trusting me to rule out my wishful thinking. — Jenny Fan Raj
“Love Can’t Wait”
It was a frigid spring day in Central Park, cold even for two Irish girls. We embellished our wedding dresses with $5 pashminas, hastily bought in Chinatown. Angeline and I exchanged vows in New York in 2014, a year before gay marriage became legal in Ireland by popular vote. To get married, we left behind our friends and family, the anchors and stars in our lives. It would just be us. Does not matter. Love can’t wait. And the warmth of our family and friends was offered by an admiring crowd of tourists. We felt the love then. Still. † Elaine Westnott-O’Brien
Would she recognize him?
I was afraid that our daughter, Sadie, only seven months old, would not recognize her father after his long commitment. So I wove him into her day, draping pictures of him in her crib, video chatting with him as often as his work schedule and her nap routine allowed. Months later, at the airport on the day of his return, I feared she would not let this distant man hold her. His plane has landed. Our eyes met across the terminal. We ran towards each other, my heart beating hard. Moments after we reunited, Sadie jumped from my hip into her father’s arms. † Peyton Roberts
The boy with the hat
When I was 20, I quietly, foolishly left. At the age of 22, I saw a cute boy in the corner of a college Bible study, his hat pulled low over his glasses. I was still—unhappily, secretly—married, but I was flirting with the boy. He was polite, that’s all. At 23 I was divorced and escaped a miserable future. I rediscovered my faith and the joy of a close group of friends, including the boy in the hat. I flirted and felt uncomfortable. Then one night, while watching a movie, the boy put his arm around me. It’s been there for 15 years. † Jess Locke