I’d been a disobedient teenager, eager to rebel against authority. I resisted my parents and the church. But oddly, the one adult I could actually talk to was our Presbyterian minister, Dr. Moffatt. We reunited recently for his 99th birthday. He surprised me by saying he’d once considered becoming a politician to impact peoples’ lives. “But you’ve impacted plenty of lives,” I responded. “Take me; remember how obnoxious I was?” “Oh, yes,” he said, smiling. “Remember being the only person who made me feel accepted and OK?” He nodded. Then, looking at me straight on, he said, “Lee, it’s called love.” — Lee Guthrie

I called it quits 10 years into our marriage. Anger, obstinance, grief and my alcoholism marred the end of our otherwise good-enough partnership. Wading through the thick muck of resentment, we often fought. But the girls? We never once argued that they must come first. Five healing years later, at every drop-off and pickup when they excitedly run into the arms of whichever parent “gets them” next, I thank my higher power it was you who held my body in the birthing tub when we welcomed our daughters into the world. — Emily O. Power

My mother, Lurilee, got married at age 33 — pretty old for the 1980s. She often advised me, “There is no rush. The right man is worth the wait.” I am getting married at age 35 — not young, even for the 2020s. My mother died from the coronavirus just weeks before she could have met my fiancée. I so badly wish that I could tell my mother that her advice was almost exactly right: There was no rush, and the right woman was totally worth the wait. — Audrey Springer-Wilson

I looked through my journal, taking stock of 2023 with a touch of disappointment. I’d written sparsely and abandoned too many resolutions midway. I haven’t been meditating, nor have I managed to read two books or attend four exercise classes a month. What have I been doing with my days? I thumbed through the remaining pages. One stopped me. My husband and I have been teaching our 5-year-old, Anya, to write, celebrating every new word she learned. Unbeknown to me, she’d strung together a few words in my journal: “I love you mama.” 2023 had been meaningful after all. — Simi Rose George

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