I’m at a restaurant in town with my parents, expecting to meet my daughters. My older daughter walks in alone, and I ask, What’s up? Where’s your sister?

She’s busy apparently, in a kid kind of way, hiding in the back of her friend’s car, so she and the friend can surprise the friend’s mother.

Well, I think, good luck to the mother.

In a few minutes my daughter appears, in soccer practice shorts, her face tanned and glowing. That, she says, was so fun. She assures me the mother wasn’t angry, preoccupied with a math homework assignment, instead.

In the early morning dark, I lie awake, listening to the crickets’ low sizzle. Like the lilacs, the mating songbirds have finished for this year. On the grass beside my garden lies a swimming floatie that needs to head back into the barn.

End of August, turn of seasons. Except, perhaps, if you’re in the season of being 13: keep on being 13 for a while yet.

Here’s an unrelated quote from what I’m reading: Lauren Markham’s The Faraway Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life:

The United States cannot at once be isolationist — build a wall, kill the trade deals — and global, selectively reaping the benefits of an international economy, like lower-cost imports, cut-rate outsourced workforce, and cheap labor in our fields here at home. We have played a major part in creating the problem of what has become of Central America, and we must play a major part in solving it.


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. I LOVE this photo for a few reasons: #1Gabriella looks like the older sister here. #2 Molly looks so much like YOU. #3 The way both of them are looking at YOU is deep with love.

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