Ann (Polley) is a hard working 23-year-old mother with two young daughters, a husband (Speedman) who spends more time unemployed than working, a mother (Harry) with a history of broken dreams and a father who has spent the last ten years in jail.
She spends her nights working as a janitor in a university and lives with her family in a tiny trailer in her mother's backyard. After collapsing one day, Ann goes in for a medical check-up and receives some shocking news.
Determined to shield her daughters from the truth and at the same time to take control of her life and to make the most out of it, Ann tells everyone her weak pallor is due to a case of anemia, but privately, she makes a list of things she had always wanted to accomplish.
Suddenly, Ann's life opens up, and the life force that was nascent in this working-class woman blooms into a quiet yet steely determination.