Age 13

My 13-year-old returns from her travels slightly shifted, changed in a perceptible way. She’s tasted a bit of the world cracked open. The younger sister, she’s now taking steps — err, leaps — into her own life. Who am I, and what do I want to do?

These early summer mornings remind me of my own wanderlust at that age, how as a child our family was happiest on the road. A number of summers, my parents packed up the Jeep, and we drove west from New Hampshire with a vague itinerary and nothing more. Maybe Wyoming, maybe Mexico. Always Colorado.

13 — such an age, such a year. While adult years all blend together — that was my wild twenties, the childbearing thirties, the hard forties — there’s age 13, the year my daughter is a child and began stretching toward not-a-child.

Chicken tending chores, her best friend, ice cream for lunch.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

— Annie Dillard

Hardwick, 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.


  1. Spoke to me about my 13 yr old girl, and yes, in this last year of my battle weary forties I can say I am looking forward to my fifties.

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