My teen and I are in an office filling out paperwork and the last question asks her how apprehensive she is about dental work.
She stares at me. “Why on earth,” she asks me in her reasonable way, “would I reveal anything like that?”
I note it’s a standard question. Her answer: that’s a ridiculous question.
It’s another cold afternoon — a mostly sunny day in Northern Vermont — in a winter where cold has now dragged on well beyond its welcome. We’ve driven a little distance and taken a detour along a river whose middle has thawed. Only its shores are frozen.
A couple of decades now into parenting, I’ve observed children are formed by their parents’ lives — and not, too. She’s driving, and I seem to have taken up residence permanently in her passenger seat — a place I inhabit uneasily and definitely gracelessly. We drive and talk. Youth, I think, repeating the word soundlessly, like a mantra; I’m drawn to its utter ebullience and brashness, like the sunlight we all desperately need.
We remark on the price of gas. Our sheer luck at the happenstance of living in the Shire of Vermont right now. Of the war in cities and villages and homes on the other side of the globe.
At our house, the icicles on our covered porch are exceptionally skinny and long this year. In the early morning, the ice begins falling in spires that break on the wooden porch. So many questions, and my answers are so poor. Keep asking.