Meelyn and Aisling have really been suffering through this first half of January. First of all because January is the very divil of a month. Second of all, because January is the very divil of a month. Thirdly, because January....ah, well, I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.
Mixing the end of the joyous Christmas festivities with the onset of the truly horrible weather we've been having -- snow out the wazoo, temperatures plummeting into the single digits -- and the resumption of SCHOOL has been a bitter, bitter pill.
"I hate school," Aisling declared frankly. "I hate biology, I hate Spanish, I hate algebra, I hate grammar, I hate-...."
"I sense you're working on a theme, here," I interrupted.
"Yes," she said shortly. "I hate history, I hate American Literature and, oh yeah, I hate doing chores and having chili for dinner forty-eight times a month." She opened her Biology I book with a snarled-up look on her face and said, "OH GREAT. AN EXPERIMENT. Do we have clear dishwashing liquid, an onion, some meat tenderizer, isopropyl alcohol and some sugar?"
"Yes to all of those things. Why is this experiment coming as such a surprise?" I queried, typing an email to Carol and Susie while I talked. "You told me you had an experiment for today on Monday and asked me then if we had all that stuff."
"I forgot," she said. "Hey. Why do you get to mess around on the computer while Meelyn and I have to sit here doing schoolwork."
Silently, I lifted one hand from the keyboard and pointed at my college diploma, which I have displayed on the top shelf of my desk's bookcase.
Aisling heaved a heavy sigh, grabbed up her biology textbook and left the room, murmuring. Meelyn, suffering in stoic silence, bent her head a little farther over her U.S. History text, so close that her forehead was almost touching the page.
"Didn't you put in your contacts this morning?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied wanly. "But life is so bleak and meaningless, all the words are running together in a dark grey blob."
I sighed and brought out my Secret Winter Weapon. "Why don't we plan a sleepover and invite a few of your friends over in a couple of weeks?"
Meelyn's head snapped up and a happy smile irradiated her face. Aisling burst through the kichen door, similarly glowy. The very air suddenly began to sparkle and the sweet golden warmth of a May morning suffused the room. I looked around, startled. It was like the spirits of fourteen Disney princess had suddenly invaded my home.
"Can we, Mommy?" they chanted, eyes bright. "Oh, can we? We won't complain about anything. We'll do all our chores really nice the first time and we won't complain about chili or school or the dumb weather, we promise. Oh, Mommy, you're the BEST MOM IN THE WHOLE WORLD!"
So we planned the party and three girls were invited, although one wasn't able to come. Because the girls both dearly wanted that one particular guest, I was somehow talked in to letting them have another sleepover at the end of February. I don't know what I was thinking. It must have been that sudden change from the frowny faces and the general air of doom and being made to feel as if I should be turned in to Child Protective Services for requiring my two home schooled teenagers to do algebra. I don't know. I guess I'm easy that way.
So! Sleepover! Home made pizza and monkey bread and popcorn and Season One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The guests will be here between three o'clock and three-thirty and I'm guessing that the waiting for that time to arrive will be almost as difficult as waiting for Christmas a month ago.
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