I can’t help but think of my first love’s coffee order when the barista asks me for mine. My friends tell me to give it time. One day I will forget the little things. I will break free from the pain of remembrance. I will start anew. But I hope I never do. Ingrained in my brain’s many folds are memories of everyone I’ve ever loved. I’d rather remember than forget. She liked her coffee black. — Becca Kuperschmid

My husband thinks he’s growing taller. However unlikely that may be, I won’t argue. His wishful belief has returned his youthful swagger. And lately, he does appear to tower over me. Now 73, he’s lost eyesight, hearing, the swift recall of words. So I let him have this. Truth is, I’m shrinking, but I don’t tell him. It’s my gift. — Belinda J. Kein


“Did I pay enough attention to each boy today?” I worried as I lay awake, thinking of our four young sons. Our 2-year-old, Dermot, tried to climb into our bed. I marched him back to his room. Moments later, returning to check on him, I found his toddler bed empty. Dermot was across the hall, sprawled in his 4-year-old brother Everett’s bottom bunk. Everett hung off the edge, making room. With my head back on my pillow, I drifted off peacefully. My boys may not always have enough one-on-one time with me, but they have each other. — Jessica Wozinsky Fleming

Tarik and I were in Atlanta’s international airport, returning home from our first trip together. We weren’t an official couple; as a single mother, I guarded my family and my feelings. But on that trip to celebrate Tarik’s 49th birthday, I felt a slight shift as we shared a hotel bed, meals, laughs and happy tears. Tarik has TSA PreCheck. I don’t. I said, “There’s no one in the PreCheck line; you don’t have to wait with me.” He replied, “I’m not going to leave you.” And that’s when I knew I could let myself open up to his love. — Rae Johnson

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