Lemons and Rabbits

When my first daughter was two, my mother sewed her a dress she called “The Peter Rabbit Dress” — pink, her favorite color then, with a print of little Peter Rabbits holding baskets. A few years later, she was happy to pass this dress along to her little sister.

Last weekend, on an impulse, I bought this 20-year-old daughter a summer dress, with an elegant lemon pattern. I haven’t bought her a dress in years, since she began working and buying her own clothes, but this dress seemed exactly perfect for her.

At 20, she’s a variation of who she was at 4 — smart and funny, determined to make her own decisions, as fallible as the rest of us. Her birthright, though, goes far beyond a print of rabbits or lemons. As much as any man — despite Alabama’s draconian bent — she’s at the helm of her own ship, in seas of all weather.


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 live in Alabama and am just devastated with the recent measures to once again remove the rights of women. It is frustrating and heart breaking and sickening – they will all vote for it, even though they don’t support it personally because they are too afraid to stand against it. The hypocrisy of Alabama is what gags us and stunts us and will forever keep us from moving forward and up. But her dress is a beautiful pattern.

  2. I think the most important parenting lesson I’ve ever learned (still learning, actually) is that – guess what? – THEY ARE THEIR OWN PEOPLE. So patently obvious, yet totally blindsided me. Maybe because I’m a big dummy.

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