This is River: my daughter, precocious little sidekick, and best friend. Before she was born, I was told frequently that kids make you do things you didn’t want to do before.

It’s true. River helped me discover that I wanted to live.

Her presence places me in negative space, and I can see and feel a reality outside of my own. When she was born, I felt my head raised up, eyes put toward a clearer comprehension of joy. Through all of the heartbreak and loss of the past years, her simple sense of love kept me fighting. When the noonday demon of depression crawled into my head I was still sure, mindful of her, that I wanted to stay alive and to help her become all she wants to be.

A child is not a cure for clinical depression, of course. I still have bouts of it, and when life is particularly unkind I fall into pretty negative thinking. But River gave me a new set of priorities and they handily defeat the impulse to surrender.

What I mean to say is nothing profound, really, just this: I love my daughter and want to give her everything.

We went out to Taco Bell today for $1 tacos and to decorate the card she’d picked out for Mother’s Day. (River’s mother and I are not together anymore, but we remain in constant contact and have a warm and amicable relationship.) Employing elegant toddler logic, she decided that since she loves her mommy a lot, and mommy is a big grown up, she should get a very amply proportioned card. We found just the right one, it lots of blank space inside for her canvas and was somehow only $3 – not bad as far as cards go, these days.

While she carefully selected her markers, crayons, and pens for her masterpiece, I thought about how important it is for me to keep working on my goal of completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing – not just for the security of having a decent career, but to show through my own actions that we don’t give up no matter how difficult things are. Perhaps the best thing I ever give is a sense that she is valuable and worth fighting for.

And when you have a burning ambition to set your feet down in a better place, it does keep the melancholy away.


If you want to help me reach my goal of becoming a nurse, click the GoFundMe link in the sidebar to the left!

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