Everything you need.

I always hoped I would die young and beautiful. Thankfully, those days have already passed. I now wish to die incredibly old, having just said, “I love you.” to everyone who matters, and while in a deep sleep. Just as time changes the shape of my body and elasticity of my skin, it changes my perspective. I really listened to what time was whispering and it said, “Beauty is what remains after all of your external loveliness has faded.”

I always wanted to have five children. Then, I had four. When she was born, the hidden plastic thermometer that hides in your uterus and tells you when you are done having babies, suddenly popped in me. I didn’t even know it was there, but, I was thankful that I didn’t just hear it, but, that I really listened. It said, “Four. Four is what you can handle.”

I always felt like I had a huge capacity for forgiveness. Then, I realized the lack of stretch in the fibers of my heart. I could give and give and give, but, only up to a certain unknown point of no return. Then, the muscle would snap back in place as if you were never there. It could not be repaired by open heart surgery or even a complete transplant because the fiber of who I am is an elephant. I never forget. Like an elephant, I will grieve the loss of you, but, I will not forgive you. I want to, but, I really listened to my heart and it said, “It’s ok to not be ready. Let go and move on.”

I always wanted to be a lawyer. When I was eight, I read a book about Clarence Darrow. I would daydream of my words filling a quiet, serious room. The very thought of a pure and true fight finding a public stage felt like the most powerful and wonderful thing in the world. The closest I ever came to this imagined destiny was sitting in a quiet, serious room with a man I thought I would marry – watching him put together the closing argument for a case. My heart was beating out of my chest. I listened and I thought I heard it tell me that I could love the idea of us enough for the both of us. I was so young. Later, when I met my husband, the beating said, “THIS. IS. IT.”

I always wanted a brother. Instead, I had three sisters. When I found out that my second child was to be a son, I said, “What am I going to do with a boy?”. I was so terrified that I would fail him with my lack of male knowledge. Then he was born. I really listened to my fear and it said, “There is nothing to be afraid of. Love is love.”

And all of these pieces of me, they look and feel and taste different than I imagined. They sound different as well. That loud, jumble of life that pulses in and around me. Spinning and spinning until we all drop. If I really listen, it’s saying, “You don’t have everything you always wanted. Even better, you have everything you need.”


  1. And this was beautiful!

  2. Your writing is just exquisite. Truly.

  3. You do. I just hope this lesson gets easier for you soon.

  4. Lovely.

  5. Dammit, I turned to the side table and realized the baby used all the tissues this afternoon to clean her Polly Pockets. *wipes eyes on shirt* What you so beautifully wrote about is the most important lesson of them all – and the hardest to learn. Positively radiant words.

  6. Brava! Well spoken (written)!

  7. I love the last line. Perfectly said!!

  8. Christy Cruz says:

    You are such a gifted writer. I may have to save this in my journal, just to remind myself. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  9. Oh, this was so perfect. What a wonderful story.

  10. As always, Bethany, perfect.

  11. Very nice

  12. I think you are so wonderful. “the hidden plastic thermometer that hides in your uterus and tells you when you are done having babies, suddenly popped in me”?? This? Please, yes, so wish this was a real thing. Thanks for getting me better tan I get myself sometimes….

  13. I read this beautiful piece of writing the other day on my phone and I just had to come back and reread it now that I had a few minutes. I can’t get enough of the unique yet perfect ways you find to show us a a vision with your words. I particularly loved the “hidden plastic thermometer.” Like you, I have the “lack of stretch in the fibers of my heart.” I also forgave and forgave but when it gave out, I was done.
    Thanks for your commitment to great writing and to sharing it with those of us who love it and appreciate it.

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