‘Are these seats taken?’ He smiled kindly. No, maam. His wrinkled hands are bruised. His bride, in a cable knit cardigan and white Keds, sits across the aisle. It’s a full flight.’

“I opened the pretzels for my daughter as he fiddled with the slick, shiny wrapper. I couldnt decide how quickly I should offer my help. It was clear his violently shaking hands were not able to open this bag. These are not senior friendly, he says. I know nothing more about him, but I need him to know this.”

I was 25, pregnant with twins, and had a 21-month-old son. After the babies were born, I noticed what I thought was a Clogged Milk Duct from breastfeeding. Then my life turned upside down.

“I was using a breast pump, and noticed a lump. I shrugged it off. I took an electric toothbrush, holding it on the lump trying to break it up. I was stressing about being able to breastfeed two little humans. The office was empty. Everyone had left except for the doctor who was about to read the results. All I could say was, What??”

‘Iheard two words: fugitive felon. I caught my sons eye. His shackles made my stomach flutter uncontrollably. His public defender smoothed her beige suit, and approached him.’

“The severely criminal charge was, in fact, a reference to my 24-year-old. I never imagined that term would apply to him.An unexpected call helped me through his transferto prison. It had been weeks without contact when I answered the unfamiliar number. I fought back tears. He told me how much my son loved me.”

‘Im not attached to my baby. There, I said it.’

“Its a harsh reality to admit, and I’m sure I’ll get a few gasps. But its the honest truth. And I know Im not alone.I shrug off compliments from strangers about my pregnancy.This is my coping mechanism.”

‘I told her, Im looking for a ‘suit.’ Hes an ex-felon, an addict, covered in ink,going through a divorce, currently unemployed. Yeah, No! We married just 3 months later.’

“I clicked into his profile. Hi. His response was, Who is this? He would disappear for long periods of time – sometimes years – and no one knew if he was alive or dead. Just 6 days after meeting him, I was on pins and needles. I finally called. When he answered, I could hear the difference in his voice. I’m telling you, he was magic.”

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