Growing Girls

Not that many years ago, the enormous trunk of my old Volvo held a stash of gritty plastic buckets and shovels all summer, tucked to one side, opposite spare oil quarts and a yellow jug of coolant: well-used childhood possessions.

This beach trip our family is entirely without sand toys, although we’ve been to numerous beaches, and even created castles with our hands and this fine red sand, with smooth stones and dried seaweed. I am likely the only one in our family who remembers those sand toys.

Here’s what we do now: on a chilly morning yesterday, the older daughter filled out a college math assessment on-line. At a particularly knotty problem, she looked at me. My own adolescence of function and cosecant reared up before me. I could feel myself teetering on a edge, before I said simply, Call your uncle if you want help with that one…. There’s only so much I can do, and cosecant no longer falls into my skills.

Which blended in perfectly with Jeffrey Lent’s beautiful new novel, Before We Sleep, about a daughter growing up – and much, much more.

There were far worse things than to prepare youngsters for the world that would lie ahead of them. To prepare them for the day when, inevitably, that world would not make sense.

– Jeffrey Lent

Photo by James Dailey

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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