Worn Cleats

Feeding the wood stove before bed, my eyes catch on my daughter’s duct-taped cleats drying beside the wood stove.

Two decades ago, I first became a mother to this girl’s older sister, and an accompanying stream of beloved things have passed through our lives, too.

Beloved Sleepy Bunny — now worn threadbare — colored stacking cups, babydolls, a teddy bear my youngest clutched on her lap as we drove around the Southwest the summer I removed my wedding ring and threw it into the desert. When she was three, this girl draped over a blue swing in the front yard apple tree on her belly and dug her toes in the dirt, dreaming.

Now, she’s 15, teen as teen gets. I study that silent sign of what’s beloved to this girl. Then I turn out the light and go upstairs to read.

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.

4 comments

  1. I miss my daughter’s cleats sitting, glued with dried mud and grass clippings, in the front hall since March when her rugby season abruptly ended. Now those cleats live under a bed in her dorm room popping out for the first time yesterday when off-season practice began. Interesting how a pair of cleats can fill me with so much love and pride.

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