14.2 miles from my house to the midwife. I measured it on my way into town the same way that we find ourselves idly counting the number of steps up or down the same staircase. It’s simply a way to focus, to occupy your mind with the white noise of mindless action. My right eye darted at the odometer in a nervous tick. A hard thing to know is the weight of a question. The load varies with its impact upon your life. Confetti or feathers, not heavy but hard to contain? A medicine ball, not impossible to carry but gets ridiculously heavy after awhile? Or a soft ball of fuzzy wool yarn that warms to your body the longer you hold it? You know it all depends on how ready you are for the answer. Am I or am I not pregnant? I had two children already, a boy and a girl, perfect. That was 6 years ago, I did not ask for any more. Have I been granted an unimagined gift yet to realize? These questions tossed and turned all the way down the mountain that day. I carried the feathers, the medicine ball and the yarn all day as they kept changing back and forth until finally yes, the answer was yes and I began the long road home with my answer. I pulled it behind me in a triple semi truckload behind my Subaru, one for each item. How do you break this news? Is news so fragile that it must be delivered gently or it could break? Panic churned my stomach not morning sickness yet and still more questions. Am I too old, am I pushing my luck, who deserves to have yet another beautiful child, who would this child be to make three? Male or female to tip the scales of the balanced family? I had no health insurance and only 14 miles to sort this out. The most important person I must break the news to was right there in the car with me. A total stranger. Who was she, driving my car, living my life, on the way home to deliver news to her husband and children that their lives were going to change irrevocably? Forever. The most important person to break this news to was me. I had to win over this stranger and bring her back home, this new mother person. Had time slowed down? How long had I been driving? How much time was left? Was I driving erratically? Was I driving 5 miles an hour on the freeway without realizing it? Thoughts raced through my head yet strangely I was calm as a speed skater going around and around the ice. It was winter in Alaska, the lines on the road long gone, my sense of direction reduced to the snow banks on either side, focused solely on what was directly in front of me. Then, as I rounded a bend, one of the snaking switch back turns leading up the mountain where my family waited for me, unaware, it happened. On this ordinary day of snow shoveling, meal making, dog feeding, living, breathing, working, playing kind of a day, on mile marker 12, in some moment of centrifugal logic, my valley came into view. It was an enormous bowl of tiny tree frosted flakes with snow illuminating every branch, and a sprinkling of raisin houses. With my home in crystal clear sugary light, all I needed was some milk. The stranger was me, she was not too old, just more mature, she was not asking for too much, she was worthy of receiving all gifts. I saw her, this new mother person with a baby bundle, strapped snugly on, confident, accomplished, adventuring on, so much better this time around and I told myself so on the last mile home.