by Susan Hatters Friedman

My sweet girl rouses from her nap. Excited to be alive, to be free years old. Isabelle who, last week, pointed at our doorbell, laughing and saying ‘is a bell’ and then pointed at herself, giggling so hard and yelling ‘Isabelle.’

Me, her mother, the grown-up version of the bubble-wrapped child.

You thought I could have a candle in my room when I was 16? No! Fire hazard.

You thought I could go out with a boy who drove a truck? No, girls get knocked up by boys with Fords. 

Well ok sometimes we do. 

My bulging belly did not serve me well in the little high school desks with the seat attached. Imagine trying to take your geometry final exam with little Isabelle kicking the desk impinging on her womb-space. 

We work together to prepare our dinner for later. Talk about the spinach and corn and carrots we are adding in. I’m teaching self-reliance, no partner needed. She’s hup-ping mamma. 

I pull out the mixed berry salad I had secured just as the clerk put it on the discount rack. Isabelle needs to touch each berry, to make our mommy and daughter salads exactly da same. Isabelle and I talk about all the different sorts of berries she loves. I ask what is her favourite kind of berry.

She pauses, to be fair to each of the berries.

Isabelle says, ‘I love blueberries, and blackberries, and strawberries, and raspberries. But my top best in the whirl kinda berry is a lie-berry. 

Dinner set to simmer, I give Isabelle the choice of what we do for the next hour. She smiles big, yells ‘bog!’ Bog is not a kid’s show. Or a book. Or a game. I try to ascertain what bog is. Gently. She says we’ve done it before and I love it too, it is so happy fun. 

She bursts into tears. ‘I wanna go bogging. To bog. Onna sahledd!’

I grab our coats and hats and her little mittens, and us girls will go ‘tobogganing’ on her little plastic sled out back until the 4:30 dusk. 

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Susan Hatters Friedman is a reproductive psychiatrist and a mom. Her recent creative writing can be read in Hobart, Eclectica, and JMWW. 

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