She’s the last patient of the day at my father’s medical practice and she’s pregnant with her first child. She’s polite. She nods in our direction. And she’s about to leave when my dad says, “you have to meet my daughter, Lisa-Jo.”

She stops on a dime and her beautiful face breaks into a mile wide grin as she reaches for my hands to enfold in her own along with her words, “I can’t believe I’m meeting you. I’ve been coming to your dad since I was in high school and now I’m married and having my first baby. He’s been telling me about you all these years.”

Suddenly I’m the one holding tight to her hands and grinning big and crazy right there in the middle of his waiting room.

It’s the same smile and the same tight hands that keep greeting me at the orphanages where we’ve visited every time I tell someone I’m Wanda’s daughter.

People stop what they’re doing and reach out for me and I know they’re trying to hold onto a part of the wonder that my parents bring into their worlds.

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Dad

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I know because I’ve watched the work they do and witnessed the changes they are part of with the most matter-of-fact presumption that anyone who saw what they’ve seen would simply do the same.

And to be around them is to begin to believe that’s true.

I am thirty-seven and I feel now more than ever that I want to be like my parents when I grow up.

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