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"Padgett Gerler’s writing is replete with compassion, forgiveness, and grace…"


– Kirkus Reviews 





Pregnant teen Kate O’Conner purchases a ticket to the end of the line on the next bus leaving the local Greyhound bus station. She has never heard of Palmetto, North Carolina, but it’s as far from her judgmental hometown and disappointed parents as her boarding pass will take her. 


Rescued by Al Riley, Palmetto’s beloved doctor, and his housekeeper, Comfort, Kate settles into this idyllic town on the Pamlico Sound to await the birth of her child. Even Kate says she feels as though she has fallen into a Hallmark movie. But the movie ends abruptly when Kate gives birth to twins, Riley and Bailey.


Bailey has Down syndrome. 


Kate wants desperately to be the perfect mother for her children, but it is the innocence and wisdom of six-year old Riley that teaches Kate all the really important things she needs to know about parenting:


A child’s grasp is only as far as she is allowed to reach.




I had known only one child with Down syndrome.

Dr. Craven and Miss Laura had four kids. When they were in middle and high school, Miss Laura had another baby, Ricky.

Ricky had Down syndrome.

Best thing ever happened to our family,” Dr. Craven told my mother. “Used to have the unruliest bunch of young’uns God ever put on this earth. Since Ricky, though, they are the most compassionate, loving, understanding youngsters imaginable. That little guy has taught us all lessons he’ll never know were his doing.”

So when Al said to me, “Sweetheart, your little girl has Down syndrome,” I didn’t know the severity of what he was saying. I was so young and had no idea of the challenges that would face my little family. I knew only Ricky…and the family who loved him beyond measure. And I knew I had a child who might struggle but would teach us lessons she could never imagine.

And I would love her…