When I was young - 14 or 15 maybe - I started babysitting for a family.
They weren't from my neighborhood or church; they had asked for a name of a reliable babysitter and someone referred me.
I watched their girls four or five times before they moved.
I don't remember their names - I wouldn't recognize the girls if I saw them today - but I would and do recognize the mom.
She was different than other women I knew - now, looking back, I would describe her as someone not meant for her time.
Had she been born a member of the aristocracy she would have fit in perfectly - she was that proper and poised.
She called herself a starving artist, and everything she did was in the hopes of making it some day in the art world.
Her husband was an artist too.
He painted, she sculpted.
I've randomly seen her over the years, and because I have an uncanny ability to remember faces I've always recognized her immediately.
She doesn't know me, and we've never spoken...until one day last week.
Emily and I were at the store looking for something I needed to organize my office with, and this woman was in the same aisle that we were.
Em had been saying 'Daddy' over and over again, and I reminded her that we couldn't see Daddy for a little bit because he had gone 'bye bye.'
She gave me a sympathetic look and said, "Is Daddy traveling?"
I answered that he was and that opened a dialogue between the two of us.
(I didn't tell her that I knew her. I've learned that it makes people uneasy when someone they consider a stranger tells them that they know who they are.)
She did her best to sell me on joining a multi-level marketing business she was a part of, and I did my best to kindly tell her that I wasn't interested.
"I'm only doing this until my other job gets going," she said.
"It's just helping me to pay the bills until my career really takes off."
"It's an exciting time for me."
I asked her what she was hoping to do with her career and she said, "I'm a sculptor...and I'm doing what I can to one day make it in the art world."
I smiled, hid a small laugh behind a cough, and wished her well in her endeavors.
It might be unsympathetic...it might seem harsh...but what I really wanted to do was put my arm around her shoulders and say, "Listen - it's been over 20 years, maybe sculpting isn't going to work out for you."
She has a dream though.
I admire that she has never given up on that dream, and just maybe in another 10 years from now we will run into each other and she will have finally made it in the art world.
It's a good lesson - here's to never giving up on our dreams.