Tiny Running Toddler

A very tall father and his nearly-one-year-old daughter live across the road from my library and often swing by. Yesterday while I’m in for a board meeting, not really open, they swing by, and the little girl runs to me.

Not even 7 days ago, the small curly-headed girl was tentatively taking steps, and here she is now, rushing across our worn carpet, her smile radiant.

When my daughters were babies, I was amazed how quickly their nearly translucent fingernails grew, how rapidly a scrape healed.

Babyhood’s quicksilver, sure, but adolescence mirrors that age. My 13-year-old has changed so mightily in the last six months, in face and body, that when I arrive at soccer games and can’t easily find her — idiotic, that I can’t immediately recognize my own daughter across a field — her sister says, Look for the green cleats.

Really? I think to myself. Identify my girl by her shoes?

When I was a mother of a toddler, I would have found this situation sad, maybe even just awful, but — and this may just be a combination of worn-down single mothering and that my daughter’s busied her life with all kinds of great kid projects and friends — I find her endlessly interesting, like a blossom whose name I don’t know, opening petal by petal. Where are you headed, I wonder. Where are you going?

Because he’s so good, here’s a few more lines from Andre Dubus:

But the writer who endures and keeps working will finally know that writing the book was something hard and glorious, for at the desk a writer must try to be free of prejudice, meanness of spirit, pettiness, and hatred; strive to be a better human being than the writer normally is, and to do this through concentration on a single word, and then another, and another.


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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