Tall Daughters

I ask my daughters if they’d mind going to Burlington on a late rainy afternoon. Heck, yeah. This proposal isn’t like asking a daughter to bury a garden fence to keep the woodchuck out.

Less than two weeks remain before the younger crosses over into age 13, into official adolescence, but, truthfully, she’s already stepped over that line. At 3 and 4, this girl’s favorite dress was a leotard with a ruffled tutu — a little green fairy. Always quieter than her sister, she’s still in the backseat, listening to her older sister and me, talking, talking. But now, she lobbies questions between us, needing to know.

Second time around parenting a teenage girl, my tack has altered: argue less, listen more. My friends with their newborn babies aren’t sleeping much these days, peering into tiny mouths for emerging pearly teeth. Babies are great, but the teenage landscape is when things really begin to get interesting.

An orphaned blossom
returning to its bough, somehow?
No, a solitary butterfly.

Arakida Moritake (1472-1549


Burlington, Vermont

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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