“Do I have to go to school tomorrow?” Athena asked in a half whisper as she shrugged off her robe and pajamas. “It’s my birthday.” She frowned. “I don’t want to go to school on my birthday.”
Athena’s staying home, helping me clean up for baby playgroup, opening birthday cards from grandparents, and generally feeling happy about turning ten. She started the day with breakfast in bed (Me: oh god, how can I do this? I have to get lunches made and the other kids off to school. Couldn’t I just skip this part?). I made her an egg in the basket, carrot sticks with Goddess dressing, orange wedges, and fresh squeezed orange juice with lime.
It’s a big deal to turn double digits. “There’s only one time in my life when I turn from single digits to double digits, and I want to make that time fun.”
1. You need to have three parties. Not one. Not two. But three. One with your family. One with your friends from your new school. One with your friends from your old school. With three cakes (lemon, chocolate, and another lemon) and five flavors of ice cream. For each party.
2. You need to have a pet because you’ve been waiting your entire life to get one.
3. You need to do something kind and helpful on your birthday–for endangered animals or trees. “I’m going to help the environment,” Athena says. We’re donating money to Wildlife Images, a wild animal rescue and education organization in southern Oregon.
4. You care about stylish clothes and wear a beige belt with your perfectly ripped jeans and name brand half sweater. You brush your hair and actually ask Mom if it’s okay if you take a shower.
5. If you set up a science experiment for the upcoming Science Fair to test the corrosive nature of different liquids (soda, coffee, milk, water) and you use hard candies, the hard candies will disappear in two days and you will have to do the experiment over again, this time with pennies.
6. Ten is old enough to bicycle to Sierra’s house and back by yourself. Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll walk my bike across the streets. I won’t talk to strangers. I won’t space out and forget where I’m going. Yes, yes, I’ll call when I get there. Bye!!
7. You and Sierra decide you are too fat and need to get skinny. This upsets your parents, who realize that even though you don’t watch TV or play video games (except when you sneak them on the paternal iPod) you have already imbibed some of the negative parts of America’s popular culture.
8. You appreciate alone time with just Mom. Without Baby Sister.
9. You like to read the Narnia series, the Percy Jackson series, Eragon and Eldest, and Bridge to Terabithia (even though it makes you cry) and Tuck Everlasting (even though you read it a long, long, long time ago when you were still nine.)
10. You get more frustrated and angrier when things don’t go right. Mom calls these bad personality moments. You call it asserting yourself and growing up.