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  • "If you could live anywhere," he asks, my beautiful nephew who’s growing into a lovely young man despite his propensity to keep asking the same question, "where would you live?"

    "I don't know," I reply. "I love DC; I’m happy here. Where would you live?"

    He doesn't quite know.

    "I like DC, too," he decides.

    "What neighborhood would you pick if you moved?"

    "I like my neighborhood, my neighbors, the location. I don't want to move."

    "It's a nice neighborhood," he concedes.

    As the conversation continues, as days turn into weeks that melt into a month, he asks variations of the same question. I feel as if I’ve fallen into Groundhog Day. Where would you live? What neighborhood? What kind of house? What kind of car? What kind of job? He asks the same question, the exact same question, over and over and over again.

    "Honey, we've talked about this," I reply after the 6,289th time of saying I don’t want anything more or less than I have. "I know it's really hard to believe but I am living the life that I want. I chose this and I continue to choose this every day."

    We keep talking.

    "I don't want to move to another house in another neighborhood or another city. I don't want a new job. I don't want a new car; I love my Jeep. If I wanted a different car, though, I would go and get it."

    "That's OK."

    "It is more than OK," I reply. "Life's really short, sweetie, and we only get one."

    He laughs, "YOLO."

    "Right. YOLO."

    "But what would buy if you won the lottery?"

    I sigh.

    "I don't know. I really don't. What would you buy?"

    He stops and thinks for a second.

    "A house and a car. I want a convertible Mini."

    We’ve had that conversation, too. Many times. Many, many, many times.

    "It’s too bad we don’t have tickets."

    Occasionally, I buy them - lottery tickets - but rarely. When I do, I don’t buy them to win but for those slim hours between purchase and drawing, for the anticipation, the dreams. I forget to find out what numbers are drawn.

    My heart breaks for my nephew as we walk and we talk. He dreams of something better, something bigger than the life that he has, and I wish I could make it all better, that I could give him everything he needs and more. But I can’t.

    I can’t.

    "You either need to accept things as they are or...?" I prompt.

    "Or change them," he answers.

    "That’s right."

    We stop at a light and cars swoosh past. He swivels his head.

    "What kind of car would you want?"

    I sigh.

    "I want a Mini Coooper," he says. "For my first car."

    "I know, honey. I know."
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