Simple Saturday

I make an error knitting a hat — I skip the beginning half of a cable round. Compensate for the error and hope it’s not apparent? Or unravel (again) and start over?

Thus, the allure of craft — the potential to make something beautiful by getting it exactly right.

Not so, parenting.

On a post-Christmas slushy and raw day, the 13-year-old girls find me holed up in a corner of Montpelier’s Capital Grounds. It’s a day unfit for for their skiing plans, impossible to sled or ice skate. I close my laptop and suggest we walk. Even the sidewalks are sketchy with ice.

Too icy in Hubbard Park’s woods, we walk through the steep-streeted neighborhoods behind the capital, stop to admire six grazing deer, and muse about the houses we pass. What would it be like to live here? the girls wonder, contemplating their adult lives. Where will we go?

On the drive home through the dusk and a blowing snow that surrounds my little car in Calais, the girls both sit in the backseat as they did when they were little, eating cold dumplings and playing songs they think will shock me. Instead, I’m mesmerized.

At a gas station in Hardwick, I fill the tank in my shirt sleeves. In the backseat, the girls unroll the window and tease me, telling me to put on a coat, and suddenly I start dancing, lifting my arms over my head in a silly, made-up song about December and joy. A bitter wind blows along the highway. I leap a little higher, in our few moments of merriment, before I reach for my coat, too.

The winter wind
flings pebbles
at the temple bell

— Buson

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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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