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.

2 thoughts on “Q&A.

  1. Now that my daughter is halfway across the continent from me I miss those passenger seat drives. Even though the music choices drove me crazy and the driving was more erratic than my comfort zone at times. But mostly I miss the questions and my attempt to answer them. Boy are there so many questions in my mind right now. And a ceaseless ache for the anguish all over the globe. Grateful to be in Vermont. Always grateful for your thoughtful words and how you process this life in this place.

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