M alky nearly spit out her chocolate milk when Mommy told her.

“Six weeks?!”

By the look on Mommy’s face, Malky could tell her reaction was not appreciated, but, but—

“Malky, I’m hoping you can be mature about this. I’m going to need you to set an example of what a positive attitude looks like for the younger kids.”

Mommy was looking at Malky expectantly, and while she hated to let her mother down, Malky felt frozen. She couldn’t, just couldn’t, bring herself to say that everything would be okay, that she would pitch in extra, and all the things she knew Mommy was waiting to hear. Malky opened and closed her mouth a few times before she could manage to squeak out any words at all.

“But, but… Mommy, where will she sleep?” Malky knew the answer as she asked the question, but a part of her was holding out on the chance that maybe, just maybe, her gut instinct was wrong.

It wasn’t.

Mommy looked at Malky seriously for a minute, and then reached across the table and took her hand.

“Malky, darling, I’m asking you, and if you say no, I’ll discuss it with Tatty, but I’m asking you please to share your room.”

Malky had done it before, sharing a room with Aunt Ayelet. But that was always for a Shabbos, on the rare occasion, a few days longer.

Malky swallowed hard, the lump in her throat bobbing up and down like a balloon that was about to pop. Mommy said I didn’t have to, Malky thought. Just say no. She was about to, when Malky looked up and saw the expression on Mommy’s face.

She’s counting on me, Malky thought.

She sighed. She couldn’t let Mommy down. She stared at the table for a minute longer. She would be sharing not only a house, but a room, with Aunt Ayelet for a full six weeks. A month and a half.

Mommy coughed.

“Can’t you give her a chance, Malky?” Mommy asked.

Being the oldest gets you into way too much trouble, Malky decided.

“Okay. She can stay with me,” Malky mumbled. She would do the right thing, but she didn’t have to be happy about it.

In school the next day, Malky let all her frustration out to Shayna.

“You don’t get it! She’s not the fun type of aunt who brings presents,” Malky said, as they waited in line to jump rope at recess.

“Come on, Malky, how bad could she really be? Give it a chance!”

Malky sighed. Shayna just didn’t get it. Her mother and father were both the oldest, and their aunts and uncles were all teenagers or young and fun adults who made every visit exciting. To Shayna, an aunt coming to stay for six weeks sounded like a trip to paradise.

Some kind of paradise. Shayna’s aunt wasn’t a complaining, demanding grouch who shared her room and took over her life. Aunt Ayelet was Mommy’s oldest sister, and she never brought presents.

“It doesn’t matter,” Malky said darkly. “I told my mother I would do it.”

Shayna rolled her eyes and gave Malky a look.

“Listen, all the better for you. Can I spend all my time at your house for the next six weeks?” Malky asked with a grin.

Shayna laughed. “Why, of course.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 696)