Me, the Mother, Grimacing

Sunday morning, my daughter drives on icy roads to meet a friend to ski. In the passenger seat, I grimace. There’s no more polite way to reveal my actions: I’m grimacing. My daughter — perfectly capable, but my God, she’s 15, driving on icy roads.

She intends to be driving thus for decades to come, without me, of course, grimacing away in the passenger seat.

We head over the mountain and down along the river where the roads improve. Driving, she talks to me, as if the steering wheel has loosened her natural reticence. She laughs and confides, there’s just so much you don’t need to know.

Oh, my Queen of Economy. Wise and experienced beyond your years.

On the way home, we stop for coffee, and I drive while she eats and talks and plays country music that, good lord again, I’m becoming quite fond of.

Who knows will happen next year, this summer, this spring, this very week — goodness, even this afternoon with so much yet spread out before us? For this moment, here we are.

On the way home, I pull over, hand her the keys, and knock off the grimacing.

Coyotes feed themselves on gaunt dreams of spring. 

— David Budbill, “March”

East Burke, Vermont

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.

11 comments

  1. My wife enquired about my serene outlook on being a student driver copilot; my only explanation was that I am older and have lived a good life. I almost added and my life insurance would pay off the mortgage for her, then I realized that this may mean I am actually worth more dead than alive at this point. So I left that part out.

  2. In high school drivers ed class the front passenger/instructor side had a brake Brett, but he was usually too busy eating his honey bun and drinking his RC Cola or Tab. Ah, those were the days. GT

  3. We seem to live somewhat parallel “single Mom to learners permit holding teen girls” lives. Last night was the all important lesson in how to avoid suicidal deer. Where we diverge…country music. My daughter loves it too, but I have a real hard time warming up to the genre. Alas, I suppose she feels the same about Led Zeppelin.

    1. We really are on the same path. That suicidal deer conversation happened in our car, too. It might be more than I am acquiescing to country music, or wearing down, or maybe I’ve just changed. Wish we could share some Led Zeppelin moments. 🙂

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