Early February, Return of Light

Just about 17 years ago, my daughter had her first birthday, and even the parents ate pasta elbows with our fingers. We were entering the snot-strewn realm of parenting toddlers; standards had literally sunk onto the floor.

One father who was at that birthday party dropped off his daughter today, and we reminisced for a moment in my sunny, snow-covered driveway. His daughter had figured the math of their short drive from home to school, and how many hours that entailed. He had told his daughter that it meant so much more time they had together – all those years, through snow and slush, humid fall days, through happy days and miserable ones – while she grew up.

As a mother, I’ve learned how to bake a decent birthday cake, pull together a kid craft project from a handful of paper, a piece of yarn and a scissors, and listen, listen. Or maybe I just need a nap.

…I have done what you wanted to do, Walt Whitman,
Allen Ginsberg, I have done this thing,
I and the other women this exceptional
act with the exceptional heroic body,
this giving birth, this glistening verb,
and I am putting my proud American boast
right here with the others.

From “The Language of the Brag” by Sharon Olds


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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