One Life Instruction, via Mary Oliver

Last summer, we were eating dinner with friends who have young children, and two couples compared notes about their toddlers drinking dirty bath water. I laughed and assured them, yes, someday their kids would brush their own teeth. The real challenge, I claimed, was when the teenagers take off in the Toyota.

As I often am, I was wrong. What about when a child decides to disappear into a remote mountain wilderness? Or head down her own path of parenthood?

In my forties, now, I’ve reached the point where life is no longer that amorphous, endlessly murky terrain, but indeed life stretches out, far more winding than I ever would have imagined when I was twenty. Perhaps it’s the decade of my life, but now separations, cancers, loss and loss again, is no longer uncommon – which perhaps is why good news is so much sweeter. Every one of these babies born well, a new house, a book published, a journey completed in good humor.

Or this: my girls with their long legs sprawled on the couch, laughing about silly things, nothing more, just silliness. Long life is made of little tiny moments: soak up the sweeter ones.

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

– Mary Oliver


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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