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Monday, May 2, 2016

From my Front Porch

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

One down and six to go

My husband and I just barely survived our first full year with a teenage daughter. It had almost gotten to the point where we were considering finding someplace to send her for the next six or seven years. If such a place does not exist, it is certainly not because of a lack of demand, just incentive. There probably isn't enough money in the world for anyone to dare build such a facility.

Her fourteenth birthday was celebrated in style.First, mother and daughter shopped at the mall, then father and daughter shopped on-line. An advantage of a February birthday is the winter sales. My checkbook was relieved.

Second, we partied with a houseful of girlfriends for a spend-the-night and manicure-till-midnight gathering. After ordering four large cheese sticks from a local pizzeria and buying enough junk food to feed an army I felt fairly secure in knowing that our guests would be sufficiently fed. I think I now know how a mama locust feels.

Third, we partied some more. The evening following the manicure soirée, the February school dance was scheduled. So we once again had a houseful of girlfriends over, but this time it was for a group hair-doing.

At one point, my husband realized that as the teenage guests were arriving, they were taking the liberty of letting themselves in the front door or the side door of our home and making their way upstairs to where the hair-do action was happening. For the next three hours, our home was a maze of squealing, fun-loving girls doing their best to make straight hair curly and curly hair straight, all while trying not to mess up the fingernails they had spent most of the previous evening gluing, filing and polishing.As I reflect on the weekend's events, I am thankful that during the teenage occupation of our upstairs no one dared to strike a match within the direct vicinity of our humble abode. With all the nail polish and hair spray fumes, it could have proved interesting.

This parade of prima donnas was taking place in our now 14-year-old darling dear's bedroom, which is adjacent to the upstairs den. All while her older brother was desperately trying to watch the big ballgame between arch rivals Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi.

He was somewhat of a trooper. I only heard him yell once.Though I knew it couldn't be a herd of horses coming down our stairs, the high heeled dancers-to-be would have fooled most folks. Six 14-year-olds clomping down those hundred-year-old steps was a sight to behold. They were armed with their cameras and for the next few minutes they primped and posed and laughed and giggled their way through a roll of film.

The dance was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and it was now 6:45 p.m. They would be fashionably late.As they headed for the car, their chauffeur looked for her keys and endured the complaints that I was going to make them really late. I told them turnabout was fair play.I lightheartedly threatened to go in to the dance with them and take a few action shots, but that didn't go over very well.

My darling dear lost a nail during the one block ride to the school gymnasium. I frantically helped her look, but she seemed oddly content to wile away the evening with only nine nails.

"You're the only one that is worried about it, Mom," darling dear said in a quietly exasperated tone.I can only imagine what her reaction would have been had our vehicle not been filled with five of her best friends and witnesses.

Sunday afternoon while the welcome peace of a day of rest settled on our home, I thought, "One year down and only six more to go."

Then darling dear's younger sister by seven years walked by and it hit me.

Barbara is a freelance columnist who lives in Willow Springs, Missouri with her family and big black Labrador, Susie Belle.