I opened my eyes to the pale light of sunrise peeking through the shades of my bedroom window. I looked at my alarm clock. Only six forty-five. On a day like today, though, I was fully awake. Opening my closet, I pulled out a crisp navy uniform skirt and light-blue shirt. All brand new. In the middle of November.
My mother tapped on the door. “Shifra?” She peered through the crack. “Are you up? You need to leave in 20 minutes.”
“Yeah, Ma.” My muffled voice drifted to her from inside the closet. “Just getting dressed.”
“I’ll make you oatmeal for breakfast if you’d like.”
“That would be great, Mommy. I should be down soon. Thanks a ton!”
I really appreciated that Mommy was trying to make today easier. After all, it was me who had insisted that I needed a new school. My thoughts brought me back to the day it all began.
“Yes, Mommy,” I answered, putting my phone conversation with Devorah on hold.
“I want to discuss something pretty important with you. Can you make time later tonight?”
“Sure, Ma,” I responded, “so, like eight thirty?”
“Yeah, somewhere around then.”
I picked up the phone to go back to my conversation, but Mommy didn’t seem to be finished. I hesitated. “Um, Mommy? Is there something else?”.
“If you could get Chaim and Yehudis into pajamas...”
Exactly what I’d feared. My least favorite job.
“Do you really need it, Ma?” My voice sounded whiny. But she just looked at me, and I knew I had lost this round. “All right, I’ll get them into pajamas!”
The conversation over, I turned back to my phone call with Devorah, making sure to note that I needed to hang up a half hour later.
At eight forty, I found Mommy in the kitchen baking muffins.
“Hi, Ma, bedtime went okay?”
“Yup. Thanks for your help. Come sit down and have a muffin. These just came out of the oven.”
“You know, Ma,” I sat down and took a muffin, “my teacher just assigned us this project. Devorah and I will be working together.”
“Oh? Did the teacher put you with Devorah?”
I laughed. “Of course not, Mommy. No teacher would ever put me and Devorah together for anything. We always turn things into a joke.”
“And do you really want to turn a school project into a joke?” Mommy asked.
The muffin in her hand was still in its paper. I had a feeling I knew where this was going. We’d had this conversation before.
“Not really, Ma. But you know what it’s like when I do anything with Devorah. It always gets out of hand, a little. Devorah thinks it’s a riot, and I think she’s a riot. It makes school a little more exciting. You know, it’s good for both of us!” I explained.
“Good for both of you?” Mommy’s question almost didn’t sound like a question.
“Well,” I contended, “we’re friends. Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 789)
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