S chool is dragging. I watch the clock, willing it to move. Three fifty-six. Three fifty-seven. I turn and stare at Rus until she looks my way. I roll my eyes at her, she makes a pouty face. Fifty-eight. Fifty-nine. Riiiiiing.

“Yes!” I say a little too loudly. Ms. Sherman glances in my direction; I duck my head into my bag.


Shiri giggles. “Smooth,” she says, elbowing me. I giggle and swing my flowered Jansport onto my shoulder. “Later, ladies,” I say jauntily and skip out the door. Mommy’s waiting by the carpool lane, schmoozing with Nicki, the crossing guard. “Hi Mommy, hi Nicki,” I say happily. Nicki hands me a Paskez taffy, her usual fare, and I pocket it with a grin.

“How was school, sweetie?” Mommy asks, smiling. “Great!” I say, waving goodbye to Nicki. “We got our Navi grades, I did pretty well.”

Mommy kisses my head. “You studied so hard, good for you, hon.”

The car is warm, the sun shines right through the window. I lean my head back and sigh contentedly. “Iced coffee?” Mommy asks. “Mmmm, please,” I say.

And we are off. We sit on the couches in Berry’s, sipping iced-blendeds, greeting the usuals. Our Wednesdays are pretty much routine. I go to school, Mommy does graphic design, which she hates, and then we head to Berry’s followed by the mall.

Tzippy makes fun of us; she says there wasn’t enough money in the world when she was in tenth grade to get her to willingly hang out with Mommy. But now they’re so close, you would never guess. And they have their own date night; Sundays is pizza and bowling.

I love spending one-on-one with Mommy. Tzippy’s different, she’s more like Abba. She gets passionate and excited and hyper. Mommy and I are made from the same mold; we love beaches and oil painting and calm.

Besides, I get ice coffee and new clothes out of the deal, so why on earth not?

We greet Mrs. Kayam lazily — she’s having her usual frozen yogurt while she reads the paper — nod at the barista, and giggle over the Goldberg boy on a date. For some reason he doesn’t realize that Berry’s Ice Cream Shoppe is not exactly hidden from the public view; his dates always look mortified that their sisters’ friends are laughing behind the couches.

Mommy sighs and closes her eyes. “Long day?” I ask sympathetically. Mommy groans. “Mr. Gellis ordered a logo for the new sock store. We did 15 templates. Fifteen! And then they liked the first one I’d drawn. Did you ever?”

I pat her elbow and take a long sip. I hate that Mommy needs to do graphics. I mean, I get it, obviously, oil paintings don’t pay the bills. But I wish she could do something she loves for a living, if only because I don’t want to have to believe that one day I’ll have to do something I dislike in order to support my family. Hey, I’m allowed to be naive if I want to be. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 707)