“So you’re not Cassie’s real mother, then?”
The woman’s face was innocent and open with curiosity. My then-four-year-old daughter was standing beside us, impatiently waiting for the story-telling hour for toddlers to begin. I automatically shot a glance at her, wondering if she had heard. But her attention was on the Thomas the Tank Engine table, around which several little boys were clustered, arguing over who would get to be Thomas. The woman asking the question was the manager of the toddler reading program at our neighborhood “progressive” bookstore, the person parents go to for instruction and guidance when they are picking out books for their children.