Celebrating a baker’s dozen

Lisa Ingebrand, LRnews@frontiernet.net

We officially have a teenager. Our elder daughter, Anna, recently turned 13. Being the smart young lady she is, she strategically planned her friend party—a sleepover campout in our backyard—during the week her little sister, Ellen, was at camp. It was the first of my kids’ birthday celebrations I didn’t plan. Anna took the reins of the party. She contacted her friends, made sure the campout date worked for everyone, and planned the entire shindig. It was a fun process to witness because two of her four friends couldn’t make it on her original party date, she had to recontact everyone and reschedule. But, she pulled it together and made it happen! I took her to the grocery store the day before her party and she filled her cart with all the items on her lists (plus, a few more impulse buys of snack foods). Everyone arrived as planned the evening of the party with all their camping gear in tow. The kids even put up their own tents, got organized, managed their own bonfire, and cooked their own food. They had a great time, especially slicing up a pineapple on their own and experimenting with roasting the slices over the fire. Of course, my husband John and I were nearby, casually overseeing the gathering, but we didn’t have to do much. John was tasked with pulling the kids tubing on the lake for an hour or so, but for the most part, we just sat back and listened to the laughter in our backyard. Then, around midnight when the kids were just starting to settle down in their tents, someone (I’ve been sworn to secrecy) lit a round of fireworks near their tents… There was a lot of screaming. Then, came the giggling, and now, the story lives in infamy. They may have had leftover hotdogs for breakfast, and they may have gone through three boxes of matches, and they may have been stinky exhausted kids when I dropped them off at their homes the next day, but everyone was smiling. So far, I really like having a teenager. My sweet Anna is fun to be around! She’s still a kid, but her maturity is shining through in the way she’s choosing her friends, how she decides to spend her time, how she adds to conversations, and how she handles herself. She’s even learning to embrace her beautiful, curly blonde hair, which she has fought to wear straight or tied back in recent years. She’s also my reader. It has been fun to swap books with her in recent months and share opinions regarding various authors and genres. Her insights astound me almost as much as her patience with her little, extroverted sister. I only have one brother, so the whole sister thing still overwhelms me at times. The girls seem to always know everything about each other, including exactly which buttons to push. Sure, my brother and I got into squabbles as children, but they were mostly physical—a push or shove here, a bop on the head there… Nothing like the very personal and emotional sisterly squabbles I see unfold over clothing, school, friends, and the Netflix remote. Thankfully, Anna is my first born. She’s rational like her father, a storyteller like her mother, and has proven to be a whiz in the kitchen. She also has a deep sense of empathy for others. Anna is a natural caregiver who takes her role as big sister seriously—and she seriously knows how to bribe 10-year-old Ellen if the need arises.



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