Dinner

The December my youngest daughter was two, snow fell every day – some days just the merest trace of flakes; other days, it snowed and snowed and snowed. By New Year’s Eve, so much  snow had accumulated on the porch and slid off the roof that I had to stand on a chair to see over that barrier through the scrim of visible window. I joked with my older daughter that we lived-in a snow dugout.

One midwinter day that year, I wiggled my toddler into her snowsuit and boots seven times, and then I thought I would never go outside again until spring – a nearly unbearable thought.

The girls come and go with their 12-and-18-year-old lives now. Driving home from work last night along the ancient Winooski, the river that’s flowed through the Green Mountains all through their glacial formation, I thought how one of the trickiest things for me about parenting has been how things constantly change. Baby sleeps through the night; now baby wakes every 30 minutes. Baby crawls, then runs.

And yet…. last night, my daughter who’s rooming at college, walked in while I was chopping cabbage and sat down at the table, hungry for talk and supper.

…one of the worst things about being a parent, for me, is the self-discovery, the being face to face with one’s secret insanity and brokenness and rage.

– Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

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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