Summer 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 2008 |

The Simplest Questions

"Meredith," Aliana says, "you talk about your sons all the time. I think you must be a wonderful mother. I think you should let me come live with you." Aliana knows that she has just a few short weeks left at the girls' emergency shelter before the state has to move her to another bed somewhere else in the system. I have known her for only a month, but I am already feeling some of the same panic and sense of helplessness that she is. I have made the big mistake of becoming attached to this eleven-year-old. I worry about her. I feel outraged at what has happened to her, before and after she was taken from her mother and step father three years ago. Her request—her dignified begging—stuns me. But I have just finished raising my children, and everything in me backpedals from the idea of becoming mother to a traumatized and troubled girl. I smile vaguely, hating my slipperiness, my failure to respond directly to what has to be the hardest thing a girl has ever had to ask. "O

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Happiness

By Nadia Herman Colburn

"Meredith," Aliana says, "you talk about your sons all the time. I think you must be a wonderful mother. I think you should let me come live with you." Aliana […]

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