Birthday Present

For my birthday present, my teenage daughter painted a portrait of her younger sister. Beyond the gesture of a gift, the painting pleased me immensely, as it captures my younger daughter’s level way of gazing at the world, a steadiness she exhibited since very early childhood.

This painting also illuminates my teenager, decidedly and unselfconsciously off-center, without glitz, deeply attuned to beauty. When I first became a mother, 17 years ago, I lived in a world of my own expectations – of what I wanted for my children. Oh naive woman, I think back to my younger self. Relax. Worry less. But, as a new mother, I had no idea I would someday receive this gift of windows into my daughters’ souls.

The truth is that life is hard and dangerous; that he who seeks his own happiness does not find it; that he who is weak must suffer; that he who demands love will be disappointed; that he who is greedy will not be fed; that he who seeks peace will find strife; that truth is only for the brave; that joy is only for him who does not fear to be alone; that life is only for the one who is not afraid to die.

– Joyce Cary


About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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