After School Snacks

My 14-year-old meets me at the coffee shop in town on her way home from school. I close up my laptop and clear the table of my papers. She sits in the window drinking hot chocolate and talks and talks.

She’s making a phone call that afternoon with a stranger for a program reference, and I see she’s been thinking about that phone call all day. She’s not someone who likes talking on the phone. And to someone she doesn’t know?

In a complete non sequitur, she lifts the gingerbread cookie she’s eating and says that’s exactly the kind of cookie she wants to bake.

Looking at her, I marvel at how she’s all teen — both worrying and taking pleasure in that worrying — in a this is my thing, my life, what I’m doing kind of way.

Her grandparents have a sent her a small box with a card. When she lifts the lid, the box opens into a pop-up Christmas tree, and she laughs and laughs.

A group of teenagers come in the door, stomping snow from their boots. The barista says, Here’s the future.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt

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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.

9 comments

  1. “Worrying and taking pleasure in that worrying” is such an apt description. I see, to a lesser degree, the same intonations in my second grade daughter. Sometimes as she drones on in details she chastises me, ” Daddy, don’t act bored just because you are an adult and you’ve seen “everything before” and its blah, blah, blah. I’m a kid. I’m supposed to be excited!”

    “I’m a kid” is ever so important nowadays in this metrics obsessed, myopic outcome based, ends justifies the means, vapid STEM obsessed world. Thanks for reminding us of that Brett. GT

  2. Love this post. When I watch my granddaughter and her friends talking over a “drama day” at school, even when it is something that upset them a lot, there is a glee in their chat, they can’t get the words out fast enough and they feed off each other’s words. Then, they feed off each other’s wisdom when they come to the conclusion they should do nothing. It’s great to watch!

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