If for Any Reason (Nantucket Love Story #1) - Courtney Walsh


Dear Emily,

As I write this, you are approximately six days, three hours, and thirty-two minutes old. We’ve been home from the hospital for four days, and I haven’t been able to stop looking at you the entire time. You sleep in a bassinet next to my bed, and I lie awake at night, listening to you breathe.

To be honest, listening to you breathe is all I do. I feel like it’s my sole responsibility to make sure that continues. It’s a little scary, if I’m honest. And I’m always honest. You see, you came as a bit of a surprise to me, and I guess that’s why I’ve been so nervous lately, in the days leading up to your birth. Because I don’t want to mess anything up.

I don’t want to mess you up.

People always talk about how wonderful it is to have a baby, but no one ever talks about how terrifying it is too. You see, I’m a little bit terrified, and I’m not sure who else to tell. I’m pretty sure my mother would use that fear against me somehow, so I’ll only share it with you, my little girl.

I’ll share it because I want you to know that sometimes we have to do things that are scary in order to get to something good. Sometimes the hardest things we’re faced with bring us the best results. It’s strange how that works, but it’s true.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing you a letter when I could just pick you up and tell you this in person.

Well, I’ve always wondered about my own childhood. I remember once sitting on the floor of my friend Samantha’s bedroom, looking at her baby book. It was a scrapbook, I guess, and her mom had written all kinds of funny stories about Samantha from the time she was a baby and stuck them down next to photos of her at every stage of life. My mom isn’t the sentimental type, so I never had a book of stories. I don’t know what she was thinking about anything, and I wish I did. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so alone.

I’m not the crafty type, so I decided letters were more the way to go. Lessons I’ve learned along the way and want to pass on to you. Love letters to my little girl. I’ll put them all together in a book and keep it for you. And if for any reason I can’t tell you these important lessons in person, you’ll still have my words, so you’ll never have to wonder what I would say.

I won’t waste time on silly or frivolous lessons, only the ones that mean the most to me, so if this book falls into your hands, I hope you’ll give it the attention it deserves.

I’m not a wise woman. Most people wouldn’t call me a woman at all, not yet anyway . . . but I’m learning so many things about myself, and bringing another person into the world has made me grow up fast. I want to be the best mom I can for you, Emily. It’s you and me against the world.

And you know what? I’m terrified. But I’m going to do the very best job I can. I know I’ll make mistakes, but hopefully you’ll forgive me. I never knew how much love I had to give until I held you in my arms.

And PS—I’ll do my best to keep Alan and Eliza off your back . . . mostly I’m guessing they’ll want to stay on mine!

Love you so much,

Mom (It’s so weird to write that!)


EMILY ACKERMAN HUMMED WHEN SHE WAS NERVOUS. No particular song, just whatever melody popped into her head. At that moment, it was the Harry Connick Jr. version of “It Had to Be You,” the one in the old movie When Harry Met Sally. Her mom’s favorite.

The bouncy melody danced around her mind as she closed her eyes and pretended she was anywhere but on the ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket. She made her living pretending, and she’d traveled the globe for the last ten years—why was this so hard?

She leaned her head back, thinking only of the song—of Harry’s smooth, sultry voice—but instead of going blank, her mind wrapped itself around a memory. Her mother, dancing on “their” beach, singing “It Had to Be You” at the top of her lungs while Emily dug her feet in the cool sand and giggled at her silliness.

Emily opened her eyes and found