in response to the old man in maryland.

the early worries, 

physical in nature, 

disappeared long ago. 

it's impossible to know

that she was born 

7 weeks early, 

but now it's the emotional

that i most worry about. 

honesty is the route

i've chosen with her, 

no stories, 

just facts,

which (i believe) will be 

helpful later, 

but it doesn't make

now very easy. 

a few weeks ago

(out of nowhere)

she said, 

"my mommy died and now you are with me."

a simplified understanding

for sure, but

an understanding.

i think it would

be easier to have

some sort of 

happy explanation for

her, some sort of

hopeful narrative

drawn from centuries

of folklore, 

but i'm a non-believer

and that means 

that i don't

have any mythology

to help her 

interpret the world

around her. 

just my version

of the truth, based

on science and experience.

it doesn't mean 

i'm right or wrong, 

and it's not a judgement

on how others

deal with their lives, 

but it's how

i've chosen to handle things.

and this?

consider it my treatise

for raising

my child. 


and it's my response

to the old man who,

after a talk i gave

(during which i discussed many things, including my lack of religion and how i choose to handle telling maddy about her mom), 

stood in line 

(ostensibly to get his book signed)

and said to maddy, 

"do you want to know where your mommy really is?"

'no!" she yelled

back at him. 

i was ready to pounce,

not to tell him

he's wrong, 

(because i refuse to pass judgement on such things)

but to protect my daughter.

her response

made me think

that i should wait, 

that i should let

her take care of things.

he tried again.

"leave me alone!" she 

yelled back at him. 

he persisted.

(this 3-year old can clearly handle herself)

but i stepped in

and politely told him

to go away. 

i wanted to say

something far different, 

but i bit my tongue. 

my daughter's response

though, had me worried

less about her

emotional state 

than the mental 

state of this old man.

i still signed 

his book

(i even wrote something nice inside).

i looked over at

her and she

was happily playing with 

her new pirate toys, 

unfazed by what had

just happened.

obviously her response

to the man was

more about the fact

that she hadn't

slept much over the

past few days

and that he was

interrupting her

playtime, but i can't

help but think

i'm raising a fiercely

independent child

who will stick up

for her beliefs 

(whatever they may eventually be, and even if they end up differing from mine).

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