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We Can All Learn, After A While

Ann Landers Creators Syndicate

Dear Ann Landers: Enclosed is a copy of a poem I cut from a newspaper many years ago. It seemed it had been placed there just for me because at that time of my life I was very sad and lonely. I have carried it in my wallet since then, and whenever I feel morose, I get it out and read it. I have no idea who wrote it and would really like to know the author. I felt that should you print it in your column, someone else might carry it around as I have for inspiration when there is a need. Blue Springs, Mo.

Dear Blue Springs: This poem is one of the most requested pieces I have run in my column, and I am pleased to print it again for those who may have missed it.

After a While

By Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while, you learn the subtle difference

between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

and company doesn’t mean security,

and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises,

and you begin to accept your defeats

with your head up and your eyes open,

with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

and learn to build all your roads on today

because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,

and futures have a way of falling down in midflight.

And after a while, you learn

that even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,

instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure …

That you really are strong

and you really do have worth

and you learn and learn …

With every goodbye, you learn.

Dear Ann Landers: My husband and I feel doubly blessed. After many years of infertility, we decided to adopt a baby. We ended up adopting two babies who are just a few weeks apart in age. The problem arises when strangers approach our stroller and ask, “Are they twins?”

We don’t feel our private life needs to be an open book, but how should we respond? If we say “yes,” they will ask all kinds of questions. If we say “no,” they’re sure to wonder why we have two children so close in age. I could say, “No, they’re not twins, but they are brother and sister,” but I don’t think that’s a good response, either.

We don’t want to be rude, and I know that most people who ask are only trying to make conversation, but please help us out with an appropriate response. - New Mom in New York

Dear New Mom and Dad: A simple answer is always best. Here’s a sample: “No, they aren’t twins, but they did come pretty close together.”

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