March 26, 2019

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Tiny Love Stories: A Terrible Idea That Works

Tiny Love Stories: A Terrible Idea That Works
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My son, that night.

My longhaired 5-year-old came back from the weekend at his father’s house wearing his father’s hat. He wouldn’t take it off. “I miss daddy,” he said. There were no tears. No tantrums. No whining. He stated the facts. It just was, and he accepted it. I wondered at my son’s strength, at his heartache. My parents aren’t divorced. I don’t know what it’s like. That night he fell asleep sucking his thumb and wearing his father’s hat. — Amy Okura

Me and Jamie at a friend’s wedding.

I was recently divorced. Jamie was losing hope. We matched on Tinder, which she wishes I wouldn’t mention. She politely offered to meet on my side of town. I impolitely accepted. She wanted to cancel but came for one drink to find that the bar was across the street from her fertility clinic. She regretted not canceling. But drinks turned into dinner, conversation, laughter. Suddenly, she said, pointing, “I just froze my eggs in that clinic.” She expected me to run. I stayed. Five years and three miscarriages later, we’re back where we started: at the clinic, finally using those eggs. — Josh Cootner

The text that opened the floodgates.

Once upon a time, my partner sent me a sweet text while I was home caring for our baby. Seeing his Bitmoji avatar elicited an oxytocin surge so strong that my postpartum milk let down. If that’s not an expression of love, I don’t know what is. — Jenn Clifford

My father in Black Oak, Ky.

At my father’s funeral, people hugged my mother, sisters and me. With sad smiles, they shook their heads. A destructive arrhythmia had left him brain-dead, just after he had rallied from a heart attack and bypass surgery. What a shame, they said. Yet beneath their condolences I sensed unspoken questions: How could you do it? How could you disconnect his life support? Had they asked, we would have answered: Our love for him was mightier than our fear of losing him, mighty enough to gift him his freedom. — Mary Liles Eicher

Still together after 26 years.

I was 18, a privileged English girl in Georgia for the summer. I had dropped out of high school and was jumping from one minimum wage job to the next. She was 46, a Sunday school-teaching Southerner who was going to save my soul for Jesus. We met riding horses and fell in love by accident, without realizing what was happening until it was too late. Now we’re married. I’m an Ivy League professor and she’s retired. Our daughter is 15. After 26 years, it’s still a terrible idea, but it works. — Rose Nolen-Walston

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