This past week has been full of milestones; Belén turned nine, and we started reading Anne of Green Gables. Both events were expected, and anticipated, long in advance.
I’d been waiting to share Lucy Maud Montgomery with my own daughters–as my mom did with me– for years. Then Tuesday night came, and we realized we were out of read-alouds, so I took Anne off the shelf with as much pomp as I could muster. Tangled between my girls’ limbs and Phebe’s green afghan, we read about Marilla and Rachel Lynde, while I kept hoping they’d all hit it off in the first chapter. It seemed so much slower, longer and more detailed than I remembered it. When we finally finished, I asked them if they wanted to keep going. I was so influenced by the spirit of this fictitious red-head as a child, I felt I was auditioning part of myself, instead of simply reading another book.
Susanna wasn’t impressed, but Belén and I convinced her to give it one more night. Then the big guns showed up. Many of you know Stan is multi-talented, but his dramatic reading skills are one of his best kept secrets. By the time Mathew Cuthbert and Anne were driving home under the blossoms of “the white way of delight” he had both girls hooked. Maybe if this engineering thing doesn’t work out he can look into other opportunities with the CBC. (Do you remember watching the film the first time it aired on CBC in 1985? I loved it, but wondered how Megan Follows beat me to it!)
Weeks before we opened up Anne, we started planning Belén’s special day and decided to break from tradition. Usually we invite a handful of families, but this year’s invitations went out to classmates only. Besides the drop in mean age of attendees, we added on a sleepover. Yes folks, it was a daring move for a woman who champions age-diversity and a man who prefers brevity, over longevity, when it comes to parties.
Stan decided to invite a colleague over the same day of Belén’s party. I guess my husband imagined six hyper girls would be a background detail, instead of a shrieking blur of glow-sticks and pony tails. Poor Doug. He came expecting to relax but was roped into sweaty games of Kick-the-Can and Capture the Flag. Maybe running through the dark with a flashlight, scaring pre-pubescent girls, is a good way to decompress after all.
Long after I wished the girls goodnight and zipped the tent behind me, Belén came padding into our room, crying.
“What’s wrong?” I said, jerking my head up from the pillow and reaching for her to come closer. “Is everyone okay?”
“They don’t want to go to sleep, Mom… And I do!”
I assured her she could stay indoors and soon after she collapsed under her covers. In the end, both our girls slept in their own beds, while the other invitees stayed in the tent.
The next day we talked about what we had learned. We all decided that old people make parties more fun and that great celebrations don’t have to last all night.
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”
Have a great weekend finding out things,