After School Snacks

My 14-year-old meets me at the coffee shop in town on her way home from school. I close up my laptop and clear the table of my papers. She sits in the window drinking hot chocolate and talks and talks.

She’s making a phone call that afternoon with a stranger for a program reference, and I see she’s been thinking about that phone call all day. She’s not someone who likes talking on the phone. And to someone she doesn’t know?

In a complete non sequitur, she lifts the gingerbread cookie she’s eating and says that’s exactly the kind of cookie she wants to bake.

Looking at her, I marvel at how she’s all teen — both worrying and taking pleasure in that worrying — in a this is my thing, my life, what I’m doing kind of way.

Her grandparents have a sent her a small box with a card. When she lifts the lid, the box opens into a pop-up Christmas tree, and she laughs and laughs.

A group of teenagers come in the door, stomping snow from their boots. The barista says, Here’s the future.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt