The December my youngest daughter was two, snow fell every day – some days just the merest trace of flakes; other days, it snowed and snowed and snowed. By New Year’s Eve, so much snow had accumulated on the porch and slid off the roof that I had to stand on a chair to see over that barrier through the scrim of visible window. I joked with my older daughter that we lived-in a snow dugout.
One midwinter day that year, I wiggled my toddler into her snowsuit and boots seven times, and then I thought I would never go outside again until spring – a nearly unbearable thought.
The girls come and go with their 12-and-18-year-old lives now. Driving home from work last night along the ancient Winooski, the river that’s flowed through the Green Mountains all through their glacial formation, I thought how one of the trickiest things for me about parenting has been how things constantly change. Baby sleeps through the night; now baby wakes every 30 minutes. Baby crawls, then runs.
And yet…. last night, my daughter who’s rooming at college, walked in while I was chopping cabbage and sat down at the table, hungry for talk and supper.
…one of the worst things about being a parent, for me, is the self-discovery, the being face to face with one’s secret insanity and brokenness and rage.
– Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
And then suddenly it’s November, and the foliage is flattening to gray, the tamaracks beginning to burn their golden torch flames. Like a memory, the bones of trees appear again – oh, branches have been under your leaves all summer. In an odd way, it’s an incredibly graceful time of year.
Maples often shed from the top down, so the tiptoe branches are stritching against the sky, while the lower limbs are yet golden, barely rust-speckled.
I thought of these trees, half in one season, half in another, when my daughter was loonily recovering from a tooth extraction. I couldn’t resist asking, when she was cloudy and laughing, Are you grown up?
Just recently, she insisted that, since she’s no longer a minor, she’s an adult.
But yesterday, cloudy with anesthesia, she revealed that she’s not wholly, entirely, all grown up.
One foot in, with her long legs stretching, she’s far more in the adult world than the lingering tatters of her childhood, but yet….
Less than a hundred years ago, the 19th amendment to the US constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920.
Yesterday, my newly-turned 18-year-old daughter registered to vote for the first time. Not that long ago, on town meeting day, this girl played under long tables in the back of the town hall, burrowing beneath a giant pile of winter coats. This year, she’ll weigh in for herself on numerous votes that day, on town business ranging from electing select and school board members to setting the year’s tax rate.
Like her first day of kindergarten, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo. She politely acquiesced before heading off on her busy way.
The amendment reads simply:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Town Clerk’s Office, Woodbury, Vermont