Reflections On Identity

The Pain of Shared Custody

One Small Moment at a Time

Laura Friedman Williams
3 min readOct 17, 2022


Photo by Lorenz Hoffmann on Unsplash

My daughter drops off a box for me late at night when she should be asleep. Inside is a Ziploc bag of kale and another Ziploc filled with delicate Concord grapes.

“Eat the grapes,” she says. “I’ve had too many, I’m graped out. But you’ll love them.”

I don’t have the heart to tell her that on my drive home from Vermont earlier in the day, I saw a pickup truck at the side of the road selling four different types of Concord grapes; for eight dollars, I filled a quart-sized green cardboard box with each variety. I ate so many on the remaining three hours of the drive that I, too, am graped out. I smile and thank her.

“Don’t eat the kale,” she says. “I picked it this morning. Wait til I’m home so we can eat it together.”

The oversized shoe box housing these items was made for ski boots; my eyes linger long enough on the price tag that she catches me.

“Dad got me skis and boots for ski season. Don’t worry, these should fit me next year too,” she says. I nod and open the box again to see what else is inside.

Under a layer of tissue paper is a set of dinner plates, each translucent pink Depression glass plate sectioned into three TV dinner-style…



Laura Friedman Williams

Author of AVAILABLE: A Very Honest Account of Life After Divorce (Boro/HarperUK June ‘21; Harper360 May ‘21). Mom of three, diehard New Yorker.