Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Heather Lanier’s memoir Raising a Rare Girl is forthcoming in July from Penguin Press. After seven years in Vermont, she is adjusting to living and driving in New Jersey. She is an assistant professor of creative nonfiction at Rowan University. You can follow her on Twitter: @heatherklanier.
When he diagnosed my three-month-old, Fiona, with a chromosomal disorder, the redheaded, cherubic medical geneticist did not use the phrase “mentally retarded” — thank God, or the gods of rhetoric, or just the politically correct medical school the young doctor had attended.
If my daughter had been born to the Ashanti people in Ghana, she would have been abandoned at the riverbank.
Asking, “When was the last time you cried?” is even more personal than asking someone’s salary or weight.
I’m driving north on I-95. The asphalt rushes beneath my tires, and when the speedometer hits eighty, the steering wheel vibrates in my hands, this little sedan protesting. The trees along the interstate burn orange and gold, and the northern half of the East Coast stretches ahead of me. I’m driving north on I-95 in October, which means I feel like someone is dying.